Fish Consumption Safety

Mercury in Fish

The Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Nevada Division of Environmental protection, and the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (formerly Nevada State Health Division) have been working together to identify potential health risks to the public through monitoring methylmercury in fish from around the state.

Nevada lakes, reservoirs, ponds, rivers, and streams contain mercury, which is converted into methylmercury by bacteria in the sediments. Methylmercury eventually moves up through the food chain to the top predatory fishes where it can concentrate in their muscle tissue. Generally, larger, older fish concentrate more mercury than smaller ones.

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Fish Parasites

All wild, living animals, including Nevada fishes, have the potential to be infected with parasites. Parasites are organisms that live internally (endoparasite) or attach to the outside (ectoparasite) of a host. In this case, the host is a fish. If parasites occur in large numbers on a single fish, they can become harmful and possibly cause the fish to die. However, population die-offs from parasite infestations are rare and usually not a concern to fishery managers. Although parasites infecting fish may look disgusting or appear unappetizing, they are generally harmless to humans.

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