|Fish consumption advisory for Soldier, Soldier Annex and Long Lakes|
Jul 1, 2003
questions about human health:
Patrick Gibbons, Communications Director: (602)
Sina Matthes, Media Relations Assistant: (602) 771-4142
questions about sport-fish and lake health:
Larry Riley, (602)
Marc Dahlberg (623) 236-7260
Biologists, Arizona Game and Fish
|ADEQ Director Steve
Owens Announces a Fish Consumption Advisory for Soldier, Soldier Annex and Long
|PHOENIX – Arizona Department of Environmental
Quality Director Steve Owens announced today that the Arizona departments of
Environmental Quality, Game and Fish, and Health Services have issued an
advisory recommending that people not eat fish caught from Soldier, Soldier
Annex and Long lakes located in the Coconino National Forest, 35 miles southeast
of Flagstaff. The advisory remains in effect until further notice. |
says the advisory results from recent discoveries of mercury in fish caught from
these three interconnected lakes. Testing continues to identify possible sources
of the mercury, but officials note that it likely accumulated over time in
larger fish, which absorb small amounts of mercury by eating other fish and
insects. As a precaution, the consumption advisory applies to all fish taken
from the lakes, regardless of size or species.
The advisory does not
limit use of the lakes for fishing, bird watching, swimming or other
“Most people are exposed to mercury by eating
contaminated fish,” Owens said.
“Our long-term goal is to prevent mercury
from entering the environment in the first place by reducing the use of products
that contain mercury, encouraging new technologies to reduce or replace mercury,
and educating people and businesses about the proper disposal of existing
products,” Owens said.
Increasing evidence of mercury contamination has
led state officials in recent years to issue fish consumption advisories on at
least five water bodies in various parts of the state, including Upper and Lower
Lake Mary, Lyman Lake, Pena Blanca, Arivaca and Parker Canyon Lake.
is undertaking efforts to improve the water quality of these affected lakes and
streams and has developed a strategy to prevent new mercury from entering the
environment and to reduce the amount of mercury released from man-made sources.
Mercury is a toxic pollutant affecting the nervous system that
accumulates and persists in the tissue of humans and wildlife. Those considered
most at risk to possible health effects from exposure to mercury would include
infants and unborn children whose mothers consume fish containing mercury during
pregnancy or while nursing.