Mercury Advisory: Henderson mayor explains why it’s not too concerning

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 23:26:12-04

Nine bodies of water in Acadiana are under mercury advisories. Those bodies of water are located in five different Acadiana parishes.

One of them, Henderson Lake, one of Acadiana’s most popular fishing spots.

Henderson’s mayor, Sherbin Colette, who is also a commercial fisherman, took KATC’s Dannielle Garcia for a ride on the lake to explain why he feels the advisory isn’t much to worry about.

"I want you to brace yourself a little bit, be aware because we could have some carp jumping in here," he warned, right before a fish jumped from the water.

Colette has spent his whole life in the Atchafalya Basin.

"I’ve been in a boat since before I could walk," he said as a fish splashed water on his face.

Henderson Lake is facing a mercury advisory, particularly for its largemouth bass and bowfin, but Colette says it happens every year and isn’t too concerning.

"Wildlife and fisheries comes in the lake every year and they test the fish. When the mercury gets to a point where people should be advised, that’s what’s happening right now," said Colette.

LDH says the larger fish typically contain more mercury.

"Fish that eat other fish. That’s what builds up to a point where they put out an advisory… When I was younger, the bigger the fish, the easier it was for you to sell. It’s not like that anymore. Most of the predator fish we catch, you can’t sell them in restaurants or anything," he said from his years of experience on the water.

However, one Louisiana fish staple is typically a better option to eat.

"Cat fish is not a predator fish like other fish. Catfish will eat some other fish but they’re a bottom feeder," he said.

Colette says this doesn’t hurt the fishing industry in Henderson.

"They’re not worried about it. You can see all the fishermen that are out here already. That doesn’t stop them," he said.

"Y’all catching anything?" he asked some fishermen in the water. "Brim!" they yelled back.

Airing on the side of caution, LDH officials say to eat about 4 meals of fish per month (1 meal = 1/2 pound).

"I eat the best, Louisiana is some of the best seafood in the world," Colette said.

The LDH says certain bodies of water means different contaminated fish are under advisory, so to just be aware of how many seafood meals you eat and where you get them from, especially if you’re a woman or child.

For a list of advisories and what type of fish to watch out for from those bodies of water click here.

For a list of what types of fish the FDA recommends, click here.