Testing reveals most fish safe for consumption
Photo courtesy NOAA Marine
By Ashley Wright
November 30, 2007
Fishing can resume immediately in San Francisco Bay and surrounding
waters, the California Department of Fish and Game announced yesterday.
Testing of more than 1,000 fish and shellfish revealed that local
seafood, excluding mussels from certain areas, is safe for consumption
and was mostly unaffected by the Nov. 7 Cosco Busan oil spill.
Fish samples were measured for a carcinogenic contaminant known
as PAH, state officials announced. Fish in waters unaffected by
the spill were also tested for comparison.
Mussels fetched from Berkeley Pier and Rodeo Beach waters revealed
contamination, but mussels are filter fish and thus retain contaminants,
Fish and Game interim director John McCamman said.
The mussels are unsafe for consumption because eating PAH-contaminated
mussels in 8 ounce servings every week for 30 years could cause
cancer, officials said.
Other seafood such as Dungeness crab, Rock crab, Surf Perch,
and herring are safe for human consumption, McCamman said.
All sampled areas, including the Berkeley Pier and Rodeo Beach,
are open for fishing.
"We look forward to a clean bill of health and getting back
on the water," McCamman said.
Officials from the state's Fish and Game, Environmental Protection
Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and
Department of Public Health conducted the expedited studies of
the sea life to determine if closed waters would be reopened by
the originally anticipated Dec. 1 date declared in a state executive
Schwarzenegger's order was put into effect Nov. 15, about one
week after the spill, and closed San Francisco Bay as well as
waters within three miles off the coast between San Pedro Point
in San Mateo County and the Point Reyes Lighthouse in Marin County.
According to state officials, all seasons fishing seasons are
reopened and remain subject to existing laws. However, fisherman
are reminded that oil may wash back into certain areas over the
coming months. If a fish looks or smells like it is oiled, consumption
is not wise, according to officials.
Fishermen are also reminded to avoid dragging their catch through
reappearing patches of oil.
A full report of the fish and shell fish testing can be viewed
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