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You shouldn't eat most fish from the Mississippi River in Memphis. But now Tennessee officials said there are two you can.

The Department of Environment and Conservation lifted a 'Do Not Consume' advisory for silver and bighead carp. But the 1982 advisory remains in place for other fish.
Credit: balakleypb - stock.adobe.com
Large silver carp fisherman in his hand on the background of the pond with reeds

MEMPHIS, Tenn — The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) says after more than 40 years, there are two types of fish you can eat from the Mississippi River in Memphis: silver carp and bighead carp.

However, the TDEC said a ‘Do Not Consume’ advisory first issued in 1982 remains in place for all other fish species in the river in Memphis.

According to the TDEC, tissue samples and historical data for the silver carp and bighead carp showed contaminants are below the trigger points, allowing them to be removed from the advisory.

“We provide these advisories so the community can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume fish where water contact hazards exist,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young. “Data studied from the collection in the Mississippi River have allowed TDEC to lift the previous advisory on the two species, and we are pleased to make this change. But we reiterate that the status for all other species has not changed.”

The 1982 advisory warning people not to eat any fish from the Mississippi River in Shelby County began because of elevated levels of Chlordane. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) then issued a commercial fishing advisory in 1985. IN 1993, the advisories expanded to include other contaminants, including PCBs, endrin, dieldrin, and dioxin. Mercury was added in 2007.

The TDEC said the silver and bighead carp tested in 2022 in Shelby County were below all the precautionary levels, which allowed for the change.

For a complete listing of Tennessee’s current fishing advisories plus additional information about the advisory issuance process, CLICK HERE. 

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