Mercury

Health Canada has set fish consumption guidelines based on the concentration of mercury in fish tissue, and the human body’s ability to eliminate mercury at a slow rate (see table). Most mercury accumulation in Alberta fish comes from natural sources.

Dioxin and Furan

Toxic airborne substances from burning organics and waste-water discharges from industrial sites. Alberta Health has compiled fish advisories for the waterbodies exposed to unsafe levels of contaminants. Recommended limits for:

  • Brook Trout: 2 serving/week for waters within 20 kms of Swan Hills
  • Burbot: Avoid eating the liver, only fillet portions can be eaten without limits, from
    • Athabasca River downstream of Iron Point
    • Cutbank River and tributaries
    • Kakwa River and tributaries
    • Little Smoky River and tributaries
    • Smoky River and tributaries
    • Wapiti River and tributaries
  • Mountain whitefish: pregnant women and young children should avoid, others should limit consumption to no more than 1.5 servings/week from
    • Cutbank River and tributaries
    • Kakwa River and tributaries
    • Little Smoky River and tributaries
    • Simonette River and tributaries
    • Smoky River and tributaries
    • Wapiti River and tributaries

Note: 1 serving = 75 grams, ½ cup, or 2.5 oz

For detailed information about fish consumption advisories, please contact Alberta Health at (780) 427-4518.

Recommended Fish Consumption Limits for Fish Species in Alberta Water Bodies
Water Body Species Fish
Size
(lbs)
Consumption Limit (servings per week)**
Women Child 1-4 Child 5-11 Adult
Athabasca River
(downstream Fort McMurray)
WALL 2 2 0.5 1 8
Amisk Lake (65-18-W4) NRPK 2 Avoid Avoid Avoid 6
WALL 1 Avoid Avoid Avoid 4
Baptist Lake NRPK 4 3 1 0.5 No Limit
WALL 2 Avoid Avoid Avoid 6
Beaver Lake NRPK 5 3 1 0.5 No Limit
WALL 3 3 1 0.5 No Limit
Borque Lake NRPK 3 4 2 1 No Limit
WALL 4 3 1 0.5 No Limit
Bow River (below Bassano Dam) NRPK - Avoid Avoid Avoid 1
NRPK - Avoid Avoid  Avoid 1
Chinchaga River WALL 2 3 1 0.5 No Limit
Christina Lake (76-6-W4) NRPK 8 2 0.5 1 8
WALL 4 2 0.5 1 8
Cross (Steele) Lake NRPK 4 6 2.5 1.5 No Limit
Clearwater River (Northeast Alberta) NRPK 2 8 2 4 No Limit
WALL 2 2 0.5 1 8
Cowoki Reservoir (19-13-W4) NRPK 8 Avoid Avoid Avoid 5
Crawling Valley Reservoir (22-18- W4) NRPK 3 3 1.5 0.5 No Limit
WALL 2 Avoid Avoid Avoid 6
Eagle Lake WALL 3 6 2.5 1.5 No Limit
Edwards Lake (75-9-W4) NRPK - Avoid Avoid Avoid 1
Elinor Lake NRPK 4 Avoid Avoid Avoid 5
NRPK 4 Avoid Avoid Avoid 4
Ethel Lake NRPK 2 3 1 0.5 No Limit
NRPK 2 3 1 0.5 No Limit
Goodfish Lake NRPK 3 3 1 0.5 No Limit
WALL 3 4 2 1 No Limit
Hay River (Mouth of Chinchaga) R.) WALL 3 3 1 0.5 6
Helena Lake (66-11-W4) NRPK - Avoid Avoid  Avoid 1
WALL - Avoid Avoid Avoid 1
Hilda Lake (64-3-W4) NRPK 2 2 1 0.5 5
WALL 2 Avoid Avoid  Avoid 6
Ironwood Lake (65-10-W4) NRPK - Avoid Avoid Avoid 1
WALL - Avoid Avoid Avoid 1
Isle Lake NRPK 7 3 1 0.5 No Limit
WALL 3 6 2.5 1.5 No Limit
Kehiwin Lake (67-10-W4) NRPK 4 3 1.5 0.5 No Limit
WALL 2 4 2 1 No Limit
Keho Lake (11-22-W4) WALL 4 5 2 1 No Limit
Kinnaird Lake (67-10-W4) NRPK 3 3 1 0.5 No Limit
WALL 3 Avoid  Avoid Avoid 5
Lac Bellevue NRPK 2 3 1 0.5 6
Lac La Nonne (57-3-W5) NRPK 2 4 2 1 No Limit
WALL 2 Avoid Avoid Avoid 6
Lac Ste. Anne (54-3-W5) NRPK 2 4 1 2 No Limit
WALL 2 4 1 2 No Limit
Lake Newell (17-15-W4) LKWH 2 8 2 4 No Limit
NRPK 3 4 1 2 No Limit
WALL 3 2 0.5 1 8
Lesser Slave Lake NRPK 5 3 1 0.5 No Limit
WALL 3 4 2 1 No Limit

WALL – Walleye
NRPK – Northern Pike
LKWH – Lake Whitefish

1 lb = 454 grams**

1 serving = 75 grams/ 1/2 cup / 2.5 oz, or a piece of cooked fish that fits into the palm of your hand

Women refers to women of child-bearing age (15-49 years) and pregnant women.

Adult refers to adults and children over 12 years.

Updated: Oct 23, 2014