03/23/2000 2:29 PM

King Mackerel Consumption Advisory Issued

At 10:00 AM on Thursday, March 23, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida joined together to issue a joint health advisory concerning high levels of mercury in large king mackerel. The advisory is the result of almost 2 years of tissue sampling. The health officials say that king mackerel, of greater than 33 inches in length (fork length), contain unacceptable levels of mercury.

The actual advisory, as issued, recommends not eating king mackerel of 39 inches (fork length) or longer and restricting the intake of king mackerel between 33 and 39 inches. For the adult population, this restriction is advised to include no more than 4, 8-ounce portions a month. For pregnant women, or children under 12, the restriction is advised to include no more than 1, 8-ounce portion a month. The findings showed king mackerel of less than 33 inches (fork length), to be below accepted mercury levels and fine for unlimited consumption.

THIS IS A CONSUMPTION ADVISORY ONLY. Currently, no fishing regulations have been altered. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and each state's Marine Fishery Regulatory Board will be meeting, in the near future, to determine if any additional fisheries regulations are needed.


NC officials have scheduled two meetings to discuss the advisory:

March 29, 6:30 PM, Crystal Coast Civic Center, Morehead City

March 30, 6:30 PM, S001 Auditorium, Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington

This is not the first consumption advisory that North Carolina has issued for fish.  However, it is the first for an ocean fish.  The history of consumption advisories for inland and sound waters goes back into the 1980's.  For more information on North Carolina's fish consumption advisories you can call 919-715-6429 or visit the web site at www.schs.state.nc.us/epi/fish.

Capt. Jerry Dilsaver



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