Union Democrat staff

The state has issued an advisory to offer safe eating advice for three species of fish in New Hogan Lake in Valley Springs, a release from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment stated this month.

The recommendation is based off mercury levels in the fish measured in the lake, the release stated.

“Eating fish low in mercury can help reduce the risk of heart disease and provide an excellent source of protein,” said Dr. Lauren Zeise, director of OEHHA in the release. “These guidelines are designed to balance the health benefits of eating fish against the risks from exposure to mercury in fish caught from New Hogan Lake.”

According to the release, mercury is a metal released into the earth from the mining and consumption of coal. It can accumulate within water dwelling creatures in the form of methylmercury. Methylmercury can harm brain or other systems in children and fetuses.

The agency said women 46 and older and men 18 and older can eat three servings of any sunfish species, two of a channel catfish or one of a black bass species of fish per week.

The release said it may not be harmful to eat “slightly” more than the recommendations if it is done occasionally.