In early April, the Ohio EPA announced the state’s updated guidelines for consuming fish caught from Ohio lakes, rivers, and streams. The do not eat advisories were lifted for all species in the Ottawa River and replaced with less strict recommendations. This is a sign of improved conditions in the Ottawa River. During the official announcement at the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said, “the types of fish you find in a river are great indicators of the health of the water and the Ottawa River in Toledo represents one of Ohio’s great ongoing success stories. Through state and local cleanup efforts, and with help from federal funding through programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we are now able to remove the comprehensive do not eat fish advisory for the Ottawa River that was put in place in 1991. As we know, however, there is still more work to do to improve water quality throughout Lake Erie and Ohio River watersheds” (Ohio EPA News Release, 4/3/17).
The Ohio Department of Health advises everyone limit consumption of sport fish caught from all waterways in Ohio to one meal per week, unless there is a more or less restrictive rule. For the Ottawa River (from Sylvania to the mouth), the updated fish consumption guidelines are as follows: channel catfish, common carp, and golden shiner are all limited to one per month due to PCBs; pumpkinseed sunfish are limited to one per week due to PCBs. Lake Erie walleye are also in the one per week advice category. For more information and to download the 2017 Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory, visit the Ohio EPA website or download the guide here.