Bay Journal: Mercury widespread in Chesapeake Bay headwaters fish

Mercury widespread in Chesapeake Bay headwaters fish, Bay Journal, Jeremy Cox, June 30, 2020

Because methylmercury levels intensify with each step up the food chain, the USGS scientists found the highest amounts in larger fish, including some of the region’s most prized sportfish.

Striped bass, a gamefish popular on restaurant menus, had the most mercury in its meat of the 32 fish tracked in the study, with a typical concentration of 0.31 parts per million. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a consumption limit for mercury of 0.3 parts per million.

“There are lots of people out there recreationally consuming that [fish],” said Betsy Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake. “These people don’t realize what they’re ingesting and how much of a detrimental impact that can have.”

USGS Report: Mercury Bioaccumulation in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

USGS report: Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish Varied by Species and Location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Summary of Existing Data and a Roadmap for Integrated Monitoring