TDEC advises children, pregnant women to avoid eating two species of fish from Cherokee Reservoir

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced the extension of the existing precautionary fish consumption advisory on the Holston River due to mercury to also include Cherokee Reservoir.

TDEC advises that pregnant or nursing mothers and children avoid eating both black bass and catfish species from Cherokee Reservoir and that all others limit consumption to one meal per month. The advisory for the Holston River upstream of Cherokee Reservoir will continue to be for all fish species. 

In August 2007, the department issued a precautionary advisory on the Holston River in East Tennessee which included the upper portion of Cherokee Reservoir, the John Sevier Detention Reservoir, and the Holston River.

“Precautionary fish consumption advisories are specifically directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”

– TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young

The advisory was due to mercury levels in various bass species that exceeded the new trigger point for mercury in fish tissue.

The advisory extended from the Poor Valley Creek Embayment on Cherokee Reservoir upstream to the confluence of the North Holston River near Kingsport. As a result of additional studies by TDEC and the Tennessee Valley Authority, TDEC has expanded the advisory to the entirety of Cherokee Reservoir.

The advisory on Cherokee Reservoir will include both black bass and catfish species. The advisory for the Holston River upstream of Cherokee Reservoir will continue to be for all fish species.

“We provide these advisories so the community can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume the fish they catch,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young said. “Unlike ‘do not consume’ advisories that warn the general population to avoid eating fish from a particular body of water altogether, precautionary fish consumption advisories are specifically directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”

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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