Worried about the mercury content of your seafood? You should be! Mercury is a nasty heavy metal that can cause any number of serious health conditions if ingested in large enough quantity, and that’s especially true if you are a child or a woman who may be/get pregnant. Seafood is the principal way that it enters the human food chain.
But some species of fish are more dangerous than others, depending on their habitat and their place in the food chain. Over the years, Humboldt Baykeeper has conducted mercury sampling of local seafood and, after a new round of testing on the catch found of coastal waters — not just in Humboldt Bay — they’ve put out a new eater’s guide to bounty of the Humboldt seas.
Downloadable friendly versions of the charts for your phone:
Women <45 and Children
Women >45 and Men
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Californians need to know if the fish they catch are safe to eat, so the state keeps spending money on testing fish for mercury. 


Cal EPA recently awarded another grant to Humboldt Baykeeper to continue its mercury testing program, this time on some species of fish that were not the focus of previous testing. 


Those earlier tests revealed that not all the fish on the North Coast are safe to eat all the time.


Jennifer Kalt is Humboldt Baykeeper's director and our guest.  

The California Environmental Protection Agency awarded Humboldt Baykeeper, a program of the environmental conservation nonprofit Northcoast Environmental Center, $40,365 on June 26 to test Pacific lamprey, lingcod, rockfish and other fish species for mercury.

“The idea here is to get some more local information so people can base what they’re feeding themselves and their children in particular on local data instead of general data from other parts of the state,” said Jennifer Kalt, director of Humboldt Baykeeper.

A previous grant from the state EPA allowed Humboldt Baykeeper to assess the mercury content in coastal fish and shellfish and put out guidelines, which are available in English, Spanish and Hmong, regarding which ones are safest to eat.

“From that study, we had a lot of good news and bad news,” Kalt said. “Chinook Salmon are very low in mercury, so you can eat those up to 28 times per month. That’s good for tribal members because that amount is consistent with the amounts of fish they might eat.”

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UPDATED! Humboldt Baykeeper has been testing mercury levels in local fish since July 2016 with funding from the California Environmental Protection Agency. We’ve found that most local fish are safe to eat in moderation—with a few exceptions.

Click HERE for the revised 2021 guidelines on Eating Fish Safely.

Comiendo Pescado Con Seguridad Pautas - Revisado 2021

Yuav Ua Li Cas Noj Ntses Yam Xyuam XimYuav Ua Li Cas Noj Ntses Yam Xyuam XimCov Txhooj Cai Rau Humboldt Bay (2018)

Click HERE for the 2021 report on mercury in fish caught in nearshore ocean waters. 

Click HERE for the 2018 Report on fish and shellfish from Humboldt Bay.

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