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Less PCB Found In Rockfish From Chesapeake Bay

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Good news about the Chesapeake Bay. Scientists have determined that game fish now contain less of the cancer-causing chemical PCB.

As Mike Schuh reports, that means the state has raised the number of fish safe to eat.

Now that the numbers have bounced back, it’s safe to catch rockfish. But the amount of PCBs these fish contained has made it unsafe to eat too many of them. In recent years, the state recommended adults eat no more than two per month.

Everyone wants to catch bigger fish, but it’s the smaller ones you want to eat. You can now eat up to three fish per month that are under 28 inches.

“One of the things we monitor is contamination in fish,” said Bob Summers, acting MDE Secretary.

Though they don’t know why, there are less PCBs showing up in the rockfish of the Chesapeake Bay— particularly in smaller fish as they have had less exposure to PCBs.

“Now the larger you get and the higher up in the food chain you go, you get fish that are eating other fish, which in turn they’ve eaten fish that have accumulated contaminants, “ said Dr. Jed Miller, MDE health advisor.

DNR showed WJZ a way to take 90 percent of any PCBs that might have accumulated out of the fillets. It’s the dark, fatty meat where PCBs are stored. Remove it and the white meat is very safe.

“We found that there were big reductions on the range of 70 to 90 percent, actually more reductions with larger fish. As we said, larger fish tend to accumulate more,” Miller said.

Besides that special fillet technique, DNR says don’t batter or bread your fish because that also holds in more fat that could be contaminated.

PCBs tend to settle at the bottom of the bay. Because crabs are bottom feeders, they also accumulate PCBs in their fat, so the state recommends that you avoid eating the mustard from crabs caught in the bay.

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