Is that fish you caught safe to eat? Check out this guide before you decide

Guidelines are recommendations, not rules

Largemouth bass (Pixabay)

Catch a nice fish lately? Want to know if it’s safe to eat? The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released its 2022 guide to eating safe fish.

The guides are meant to help anglers minimize exposure to chemicals that can build up in fish while still getting all the benefits of eating fresh fish.

The guidelines are based on levels of chemicals found in the portions of the fish that people eat, usually the filets. The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories did tests o determine what is safe for people to eat over the long term.

More: Michigan fishing guide: Season opener dates every angler should know

Do not eat advisories

One update is a do not eat advisory for bluegill and sunfish caught in the lower branch of the Rouge River and the main branch of the River River from the Ford Estate Dam to the Detroit River.

Those fish were tested in 2021 and found to have high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS).

Other species of fish collected in 2019 and 2021 from the same stretch of the river were found to be contaminated, but not at levels that require a do not eat advisory.

Officials are still investigating possible sources of the PFOS contamination. There is also historical PCB contamination for that stretch of river.

Huron River do not eat advisory lifted for some fish

Another update lifts the do not eat fish advisory for most fish species from a specific stretch of the Huron River.

The advisory has been lifted for the stretch of river from where it crosses I-275 in Wayne County to the river mouth at Lake Erie, including the Flat Rock impoundment.

While the advisory has been lifted for most fish species, there are still guidelines in place for the following:

  • Bluegill and sunfish have a recommended eight MI Servings per month due to PFOS.
  • Carp have a recommended ‘Limited’ category for fish less than 28″ and a recommended ‘Do Not Eat’ category for fish greater than 28″ due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins. Fish with a ‘Limited’ category should not be eaten by people under the age of 15, those who have health problems like cancer or diabetes, those who may have children in the next several years, those who are pregnant or those who are breastfeeding. People who do not fall under any of those categories are recommended to limit their consumption to one to two servings each year.
  • Catfish have a recommended one MI Serving per month due to PCBs.
  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass have a recommended four MI Servings per month due to PCBs and mercury.
  • Rock bass still have a recommended ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory due to PFOS.
  • For other fish species, refer to the statewide guidelines.

The do not eat advisory is in effect for the Huron River where it crosses North Wixom Road in Oakland County to where the river crosses I-275.

This includes: Norton Creek (Oakland County), Hubbell Pond also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County), Kent Lake (Oakland County), Ore Lake (Livingston County), Strawberry & Zukey Lakes (Livingston County), Gallagher Lake (Livingston County), Loon Lake (Livingston County), Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County), Base Line & Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line), Barton Pond (Washtenaw County), Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County), Argo Pond (Washtenaw County), Ford Lake (Washtenaw County), and Belleville Lake (Wayne County).

The Eat Safe Fish guidelines are not laws and they’re not regulations. You don’t have to follow them. It’s just information for people who want it.

Check out Southeast Michigan’s Eat Safe Fish Guide below

For more information on how to buy, eat or prepare safe fish, or to get the 2022 Eat Safe Fish Guide for your region, visit and click on Find Your Area or call 800-648-6942.

Read: More Michigan fishing coverage

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.