The Louisiana Departments of Health, Environmental Quality and Wildlife and Fisheries have issued advisories regarding fish consumption for nine bodies of water in Acadiana. The departments say the advisories were issued due to unacceptable levels of mercury detected in fish and shellfish.
The following waterways and their locations were listed in the mercury advisory:
- Two O’clock Bayou, From Louisiana Highway 190 in St. Landry Parish to Craft Lake, includes Cowan Bay, Close Lake, and Craft Lake.
- Bayou des Cannes, From its origin near Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish to where it enters the Mermentau River
- Chicot Lake, Evangeline Parish
- Cocodrie Lake, Includes Cocodrie Lake in Evangeline and Rapides parishes
- Crooked Creek Reservoir, Evangeline Parish
- Henderson Lake, Includes Henderson Lake, Lake Bigeux, and all waters within the area bounded on the north by the St. Landry/St. Martin Parish Line, on the east by the West Atchafalaya River levee (or Hwy. 3177), on the south by Hwy. 3177 and on the west by the West Atchafalaya Basin levee.
- Bayou Plaquemine, This area includes Bayou Plaquemine Brule from its origin near Opelousas in St. Landry Parish to where it enters the Mermentau River.
- Bayou Queue de Tortue, From its headwaters near Cankton, Louisiana to its confluence with the Mermentau River east of Lake Arthur, Louisiana.
- Seventh Ward Canal, Vermillion Parish
The advisories indicate that women of childbearing age and children less than seven years of age should watch their consumption of fish from these waterways. For a full list of advisory information for each waterway, visit the Louisiana Department of Health website.
The Louisiana Department of Health says:
"Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the environment. Consequently, there are small amounts of mercury in the sediments of streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of mercury. They absorb mercury as they feed on aquatic organisms. Larger predator fish contain more mercury than smaller fish. It is recommended that smaller fish be consumed instead of larger ones."
According to State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry:
"Eating contaminated fish is one way we are exposed to mercury. Health effects from harmful levels of mercury can include nervous system and kidney damage. Young children and developing fetuses are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mercury. Therefore, consumption advisories are issued at lower fish tissue concentrations for women of childbearing age and children under seven years of age."