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Fish Consumption Advisories

Current Advisories for N.C.

Fish consumption advisories are issued by the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, N.C. Division of Public Health. Learn more about this OEE program. Find current fish advisories for the state of North Carolina and for specific bodies of water in North Carolina. You may also use the Reports by County index to browse all available OEE reports, including fish advisories, hazardous site assessments, and community health studies.

Learn more about lakes and rivers in North Carolina:

Statewide Advisories

Pollutant: Mercury
Date Issued/Updated: April 2, 2008
Advisory:
Women of Childbearing Age (15-44 years), Pregnant Women, Nursing Women, and Children under 15:
Do not eat fish high in mercury, including largemouth bass caught in the state. Eat up to two meals per week of fish low in mercury. A meal is 6 ounces of uncooked fish for adults, or 2 ounces of uncooked fish for children under 15.
All Other Individuals:
Eat no more than one meal per week of fish high in mercury, including largemouth bass caught in the state. Eat up to four meals per week of fish low in mercury. A meal is 6 ounces of uncooked fish for adults, or 2 ounces of uncooked fish for children under 15.
Affected Fish: Fish high in mercury

Learn more about mercury in fish.

Site-Specific Advisories by Body of Water


A

  • Albemarle Sound

    Affected Counties: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington

    Site: Albemarle Sound from Bull Bay to Harvey Point; West to the mouth of the Roanoke River and to the mouth of the Chowan River to the U.S. Highway 17 Bridge

    Pollutant: Dioxins

    Date Issued: October 2001

    Advisory: Catfish and carp from these waters may contain low levels of dioxins. Women of childbearing age and children should not eat any catfish or carp from this area until further notice. All other persons should eat no more than one meal per month of catfish and carp from this area. Swimming, boating, and other recreational activities present no known significant health risks and are not affected by this advisory.

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B

  • Badin Lake

    Affected Counties: Montgomery, Stanly

    Pollutants: Mercury, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: February 11, 2009

    Advisory: Elevated levels of chemicals called PCBs, along with mercury, may be found in catfish and largemouth bass in these waters. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and children under 15 should avoid eating catfish and largemouth bass from this lake due to high levels of mercury as well as PCBs. Other people should eat no more than one meal per week of catfish and largemouth bass from this lake.

    See the related public health consultation and fish tissue study.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Brier Creek

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: Downstream of Brier Creek Reservoir; See also Lake Crabtree and Little Brier Creek

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: May 7, 2004

    Advisory: Do not eat any fish from Brier Creek. High levels of PCBs have been found in the fish. Swimming, boating, and other recreational activities present no known significant health risks from PCBs and are not affected by this advisory. PCB-related risks, if any, from these activities have been shown to be negligible. If future testing reveals new information, then new advice will be given and new signs will be issued.

  • Brier Creek, Little (See Little Brier Creek)

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C

  • Chatuge Lake

    Affected Counties: Clay

    Pollutant: Mercury

    Date Issued: December 14, 2012

    Advisory: Elevated levels of mercury may be found in white bass or largemouth bass caught in Lake Chatuge. Women of childbearing age (15-44 years) and children under 15 should not eat any white bass or largemouth bass caught in Lake Chatuge. All other persons should eat no more than one meal (6 ounces) per week of white bass or largemouth bass caught in the lake. Swimming, boating, other recreational activities, and handling the fish present no known significant health risks and are not affected by this advisory. State health officials are unable to positively identify the original sources of the contamination, but have determined that airborne sources such as wind-blown dust are the most likely source.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Crabtree Creek

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: Above Lake Crabtree and below Lake Crabtree to where it enters the Neuse River

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: March 31, 2006

    Advisory: Limit consumption of carp, catfish, and largemouth bass from Crabtree Creek to no more than one meal per month. High levels of PCBs have been found in carp, catfish, and largemouth bass from these waters.

  • Crabtree, Lake (See Lake Crabtree)

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D

  • Dan River

    Affected Counties: Caswell, Rockingham

    Site: Dan River in North Carolina downstream of the Duke Energy – Dan River Steam Station spill site

    Pollutant: Coal ash

    Date Issued: February 12, 2014

    Recreational Water Advisory: Because the Duke Energy - Dan River Steam Station coal ash spill is located in North Carolina’s portion of the Dan River, a potential hazard exists immediately downstream of the release. Therefore, public health officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are recommending that persons avoid recreational contact with water and sediment in the Dan River in North Carolina downstream of the Duke Energy - Dan River Steam Station spill site. We also recommend that people do not contact submerged or floating coal ash, or ash washed up on the riverbank. Direct contact with the water or sediment may cause skin irritation. Wash off with soap and water. We will continue to monitor data as it becomes available to identify when health risks are not a concern.

    Fish and Shellfish Consumption: Because the Duke Energy - Dan River Steam Station coal ash spill is located in North Carolina’s portion of the Dan River, a potential hazard exists immediately downstream of the release. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that persons not eat all fish or shellfish collected from the Dan River in North Carolina downstream of the Duke Energy - Dan River Steam Station spill site. We are working with other agencies to collect fish downstream of the spill. We will evaluate the data from fish sampling as it becomes available to identify when health risks associated with eating the fish are not a concern.

    See also Dan River Coal Ash Spill (Duke Energy – Dan River Steam Station Site)

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F

  • Falls Reservoir

    Affected Counties: Montgomery, Stanly

    Site: See also Yadkin-Pee Dee River System

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: March 13, 2013

    Advisory: Levels of chemicals called PCBs were found above the state action level (0.05 mg/kg) in catfish species larger than 18 inches (450 mm) in Falls Reservoir.  Prior studies of catfish in the state's lakes and rivers have identified elevated levels of mercury south and east of U.S. Highway I-85.  The recommended number of meals for catfish as a result of the mercury advisory is also protective of potential health effects associated with eating catfish contaminated with PCBs in this lake. The recommended mercury advisory for catfish in this area is:  Pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any catfish from this lake.  Other people should not eat more than one meal a week. A meal of fish is approximately six (6) ounces of uncooked fish.

    See the related public health risk assessment of fish and sediment.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Fontana Lake

    Affected Counties: Graham and Swain

    Site: See also Santeetlah Lake (Graham County)

    Pollutant: Mercury

    Date Issued: September 10, 2008

    Advisory: Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and children under 15 should avoid eating walleye from Santeetlah and Fontana lakes due to high levels of mercury. Other people should limit their consumption of those fish to no more than one meal per week.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

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G

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H

  • High Rock Lake

    Affected Counties: Davidson, Rowan

    Site: See also Yadkin-Pee Dee River System

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: March 13, 2013

    Advisory: Levels of chemicals called PCBs were found above the state action level (0.05 mg/kg) in catfish species larger than 18 inches (450 mm) in High Rock Lake.  Prior studies of catfish in the state's lakes and rivers have identified elevated levels of mercury south and east of U.S. Highway I-85.  The recommended number of meals for catfish as a result of the mercury advisory is also protective of potential health effects associated with eating catfish contaminated with PCBs in this lake. The recommended mercury advisory for catfish in this area is:  Pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any catfish from this lake.  Other people should not eat more than one meal a week. A meal of fish is approximately six (6) ounces of uncooked fish.

    See the related public health risk assessment of fish and sediment.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

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L

  • Lake Chatuge (See Chatuge Lake)
  • Lake Crabtree

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: See also Brier Creek and Little Brier Creek

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: May 7, 2004

    Advisory: Do not eat carp or catfish from Lake Crabtree. High levels of PCBs have been found in these fish. Limit consumption of all other fish from Lake Crabtree to no more than one meal per month. When in doubt about the fish species, do not eat any of the fish. Swimming, boating, and other recreational activities present no known significant health risks from PCBs and are not affected by this advisory. PCB-related risks, if any, from these activities have been shown to be negligible. If future testing reveals new information, then new advice will be given and new signs will be issued.

  • Lake Fontana (See Fontana Lake)
  • Lake Gaston

    Affected Counties: Halifax, Northampton and Warren

    Pollutant: Mercury

    Date Issued: November 18, 2009

    Advisory: Elevated levels of mercury may be found in walleye and largemouth bass in these waters. Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and children under 15 should avoid eating walleye and largemouth bass from this lake due to high levels of mercury. Other people should eat no more than one to two meals per month of walleye or largemouth bass from this lake.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Lake Nantahala (See Nantahala Lake)
  • Lake Norman

    Affected Counties: Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln and Mecklenburg

    Pollutants: Mercury, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: April 9, 2013

    Advisory: Levels of PCBs have been found in striped bass in Lake Norman that exceed the state action level for PCBs of 0.05 mg/kg. Because previous studies have shown that largemouth bass in all waters of North Carolina have elevated levels of mercury, this advisory for Lake Norman includes largemouth bass as well as striped bass. Pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any striped bass or largemouth bass from Lake Norman. To guard against mercury exposure and potential PCB exposure, other people should not eat more than two meals a month of largemouth bass and one meal a week of striped bass from Lake Norman. A meal of fish is considered approximately six (6) ounces of uncooked fish.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Lake Santeetlah (See Santeetlah Lake)
  • Lake Tillery

    Affected Counties: Montgomery, Stanly

    Site: See also Yadkin-Pee Dee River System

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: March 13, 2013

    Advisory: Levels of chemicals called PCBs were found above the state action level (0.05 mg/kg) in catfish species larger than 18 inches (450 mm) in Lake Tillery.  Prior studies of catfish in the state's lakes and rivers have identified elevated levels of mercury south and east of U.S. Highway I-85.  The recommended number of meals for catfish as a result of the mercury advisory is also protective of potential health effects associated with eating catfish contaminated with PCBs in this lake. The recommended mercury advisory for catfish in this area is:  Pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any catfish from this lake.  Other people should not eat more than one meal a week. A meal of fish is approximately six (6) ounces of uncooked fish.

    See the related public health risk assessment of fish and sediment.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Lake Wylie

    Affected Counties: Gaston and Mecklenburg

    Pollutants: Mercury, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: December 23, 2011

    Advisory: Elevated levels of PCBs have been found in largemouth bass in Lake Wylie. In addition, previous studies have shown that largemouth bass in all waters of North Carolina have elevated levels of mercury. Pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any largemouth bass. To guard against mercury and PCB exposure, other people should not eat more than two meals a month of largemouth bass from this lake.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Little Brier Creek

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: Downstream of Brier Creek Parkway. Includes tributaries to Little Brier Creek and Brier Creek Reservoir; See also Brier Creek and Lake Crabtree

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: December 8, 2003

    Advisory: Do not eat fish from Little Brier Creek (downstream of Brier Creek Parkway), its tributaries, and Brier Creek Reservoir. Fish from these waters are not safe to eat. High levels of PCBs have been found in the fish.

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M

  • Mountain Island Lake

    Affected Counties: Gaston, Mecklenburg

    Pollutant: Mercury, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: April 25, 2013

    Advisory: Update to the advisory issued January 6, 2011. Testing has shown levels of PCBs in blue catfish and channel catfish in Mountain Island Lake exceeding the state action level for PCBs of 0.05 mg/kg. Previous studies have shown that largemouth bass in all waters of North Carolina have elevated levels of mercury. DHHS recommends that no one eat channel catfish from Mountain Island Lake. In addition, public health officials recommend that pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any largemouth bass or blue catfish from Mountain Island Lake. Other people should not eat more than two meals a month of largemouth bass and one meal a month of blue catfish from this lake. A meal of fish is approximately six (6) ounces of uncooked fish. The PCB and mercury contamination does not present a known health risk for persons engaging in other recreational activites such as touching the water, wading, swimming, boating or handling the fish.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

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N

  • Nantahala Lake

    Affected Counties: Macon

    Pollutant: Mercury

    Date Issued: December 14, 2012

    Advisory: Smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch and largemouth bass caught in the lake may contain elevated levels of mercury. Women of childbearing age (15-44 years) and children under 15 should not eat any smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch or largemouth bass caught in Nantahala Lake. All other persons should eat no more than one meal (6 ounces) per week of smallmouth bass, walleye, yellow perch or largemouth bass caught in Nantahala Lake. Swimming, boating, other recreational activities, and handling the fish present no known significant health risks and are not affected by this advisory. State health officials are unable to positively identify the original sources of the contamination, but have determined that airborne sources such as wind-blown dust are the most likely source.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

  • Neuse River

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: Just below Crabtree Creek to Auburn-Knightdale Road

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: April 2, 2008

    Advisory: Limit consumption of carp and catfish to no more than one meal per month. High levels of PCBs may be found in carp and catfish from these waters.

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P

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R

  • Roanoke River

    Affected Counties: Bertie, Martin and Washington

    Site: From the U. S. Hwy 17 bridge near Williamston to mouth of Albemarle Sound

    Pollutant: Dioxins

    Date Issued: October 2001

    Advisory: Catfish and carp from these waters may contain low levels of dioxins. Women of childbearing age and children should not eat any catfish or carp from this area until further notice. All other persons should eat no more than one meal per month of catfish and carp from this area. Swimming, boating, and other recreational activities present no known significant health risks and are not affected by this advisory.

  • Rocky Branch

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: Just upstream of the Neuse River; See also Walnut Creek

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: April 2, 2008

    Advisory: Limit consumption of carp and catfish to no more than one meal per month and limit consumption of all other fish to no more than one meal per week from these waters. High levels of PCBs may be found in these fish.

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S

  • Santeetlah Lake

    Affected Counties: Graham

    Site: See also Fontana Lake (Graham and Swain Counties)

    Pollutant: Mercury

    Date Issued: September 10, 2008

    Advisory: Pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and children under 15 should avoid eating walleye from Santeetlah and Fontana lakes due to high levels of mercury. Other people should limit their consumption of those fish to no more than one meal per week.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

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W

  • Walnut Creek

    Affected Counties: Wake

    Site: Just upstream of the Neuse River; See also Rocky Branch

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: April 2, 2008

    Advisory: Limit consumption of carp and catfish to no more than one meal per month and limit consumption of all other fish to no more than one meal per week from these waters. High levels of PCBs may be found in these fish.

  • Welch Creek

    Affected Counties: Beaufort, Martin, and Washington

    Site: The entire creek in Beaufort, Martin, and Washington counties

    Pollutant: Dioxins

    Date Issued: October 2001

    Advisory: Catfish and carp from these waters may contain low levels of dioxins. Women of childbearing age and children should not eat any catfish or carp from this area until further notice. All other persons should eat no more than one meal per month of catfish and carp from this area. Swimming, boating, and other recreational activities present no known significant health risks and are not affected by this advisory.

  • Wylie, Lake (See Lake Wylie)

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Y

  • Yadkin-Pee Dee River System

    Affected Counties: Davidson, Montgomery, Rowan, Stanly

    Site: See also Falls Reservoir, High Rock Lake, Lake Tillery

    Pollutant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

    Date Issued: March 13, 2013

    Advisory: Levels of chemicals called PCBs were found above the state action level (0.05 mg/kg) in catfish species larger than 18 inches (450 mm) in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River System. Prior studies of catfish in the state's lakes and rivers have identified elevated levels of mercury south and east of U.S. Highway I-85.  The recommended number of meals for catfish as a result of the mercury advisory is also protective of potential health effects associated with eating catfish contaminated with PCBs in this lake. The recommended mercury advisory for catfish in this area is:  Pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and children under age 15 should not eat any catfish from this lake.  Other people should not eat more than one meal a week. A meal of fish is approximately six (6) ounces of uncooked fish.

    See the related public health risk assessment of fish and sediment.

    Please also see the statewide mercury advisory.

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