NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — State officials on Monday announced the expansion of the existing precautionary fish consumption advisory for bass species in the Little River in Blount County over mercury pollution concerns.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation advises that pregnant or nursing mothers and children avoid eating any black bass from the Little River. All others should limit consumption of bass to one meal per month.
The Little River advisory previously issued in June of 2019 was for a portion of the Little River extending from the national park boundary upstream of Townsend near river mile 35 upstream to the area called “The Sinks” near mile 41.5. Monday’s action extends the advisory downstream from the national park boundary down to the U.S. Highway 129 bridge near Maryville.
“We provide these advisories so people can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume fish they catch,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young said. “Precautionary fish consumption advisories are directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”
The information that led to the expansion of the advisory was the result of cooperative fish tissue sampling by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the department. Fish were collected from Townsend downstream to Maryville and documented mercury levels well above the trigger currently used by the department. This trigger, 0.3 mg/kg (parts per million), was jointly recommended by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
TDEC will post warning signs at public access points and will work with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to communicate this information to the public.
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