Fish Consumption Advice for Alaskans
postnatal mercury exposures from fish consumption with cognitive deficits, so the age at which sensitivity to mercury is passed is unknown. A recent National Academy of Sciences panel recommended a cut-off of age 12 years,75 which provides a conservative approach. In Alaska, we chose to follow the National Academy of Sciences recommended cut-off age to target fish consumption limitations to males aged 12 years and under, and females up to the age when they can no longer become pregnant (to cover girls and women of childbearing age).
>.150 – .320
4 per week (or 16 per month)
>.320 – .400
3 per week (or 12 per month)
>.400 – .640
2 per week (or 8 per month)
>.640 – 1.23
1 per week (or 4 per month)
Fish MeHg Conc, ppm ww
0 – .150
Salmon shark Spiny dogfish
Table 8. Alaska-Caught Fish Monthly Consumption Allowances for Women who Are or Can Become Pregnant, Nursing Mothers, and Young Children (Aged 12 years and Under)*
Pacific cod Walleye pollock Black rockfish Pacific ocean perch King salmon Chum salmon Pink salmon Red salmon Silver salmon Halibut 0 – 19.9 pounds Lingcod 0 – 29.9 inches
Sablefish Rougheye rockfish Halibut 20 – 39.9 pounds Lingcod 30 – 39.9 inches
Halibut 40 – 49.9 pounds Yelloweye rockfish Halibut 50 – 89.9 pounds Lingcod 40 – 44.9 inches
Guidelines remain as unrestricted consumption of all fish from Alaska Waters for other groups
Calculations performed using 6 oz meal size (wet weight) for adults and an Acceptable Daily Intake of 0.4 µg/kg body weight/day
established by the Alaska Scientific Advisory Committee for Fish Consumption
Calculations assume a single-species diet
Categorizations assume all mercury is methylmercury (MeHg) in Alaska fish
In cases where women and young children are advised to limit consumption of a particular species, they are encouraged to substitute that species with fish that have lower tissue concentrations of mercury, such as salmon. If they cannot obtain salmon, communities are encouraged to substitute the fish species to be avoided with another healthy protein alternative.
Recreational fishers are a target audience for Alaska’s fish consumption guidelines, as they are most likely to eat multiple meals from a large individual fish that might have a high mercury level (e.g., shark species or very large halibut). The Alaska Scientific Advisory Committee for Fish Consumption plans to work with the ADF&G to incorporate fish consumption guidelines into their annual Sport Fishing Regulations booklets. Those who are concerned about mercury levels in the large halibut they catch are encouraged to have their fish analyzed for mercury, so DPH can provide individualized advice about the maximum amount of that fish sensitive family members are suggested to eat each month. While some large halibut from Alaska have mercury levels high enough to warrant consumption restrictions for sensitive populations, some do not have high mercury levels and are safe to eat in larger quantities.