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Fish Consumption Advisories

Surface Water Hydrology

  1. Gary A. Buchanan,
  2. Alan Stern,
  3. Gloria Post

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.sw236

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Buchanan, G. A., Stern, A. and Post, G. 2005. Fish Consumption Advisories. Water Encyclopedia. 3:118–121.

Author Information

  1. Division of Science, Research, and Technology, Trenton, New Jersey

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Fish consumption advisories can be defined as government health advice issued to the public concerning deleterious substances in fish and/or shellfish (e.g., crabs). These advisories typically provide advice on avoiding or limiting the consumption of certain types, sizes, or parts of fish, or on the number of fish meals to consume over a period of time in order to limit health risks. Fish consumption advisories were first issued in the United States in the mid-1970s, and currently, more than 3,000 species-specific, water body-specific, and general advisories exist nationwide. This entry provides a brief summary of the history and scope of fish advisories from the recognition of harmful levels of mercury in fish at Minimata Bay, Japan to PCB advisories in the United States. Subtopics include the theory behind issuing fish advisories, risk assessment techniques, and information on sampling, analysis, and outreach methods. An example of a state advisory is provided, as well as appropriate and more detailed references (e.g., national guidance).


  • fish advisory;
  • advisories;
  • fish consumption;
  • PCBs;
  • mercury;
  • risk assessment