To reduce the amount of contaminants you eat when you eat fish from the Columbia Slough:
- Eat smaller, younger fish.
- Know where the fish you are eating is from.
- Eat a variety of fish that are low in contaminants.
- Be familiar with healthy fish guides when choosing seafood at the store or restaurant.
- Limit the amount of fish from the Slough that you eat. For nearly all Columbia Slough fish, eat only 1 fillet meal per month. A meal is about the size and thickness of a person’s hand or approximately the size of two decks of cards.
What is a meal?
A meal is about the size and thickness of your hand—about 1 ounce of uncooked fish for every 20 pounds of body weight.
- For a 160-pound adult, a meal size is 8 ounces.
- For an 80-pound child, a meal size is about 4 ounces.
How should I prepare the fish to reduce my health risk?
PCBs and pesticides are stored in the fat of the fish. By removing the fat when you prepare and cook the fish, you can reduce the amount of those contaminants in the fish by up to 50 percent.
When eating fish from the Slough, follow these steps:
- Cut off and throw away the head, skin, guts (including liver), back and belly fat.
Pollutants are stored in these parts.
- Eat only fish fillets.
- Bake, broil, grill, or steam the fillets (without skin or fat) and allow the fat to drip off.
- Avoid eating the skin and fat on fish.
- Do not eat raw fish from the Slough.
- Do not eat or cook with the fat drippings or use them to make sauces.
- Do not reuse drippings or oil used for cooking.
Guides: How to prepare fish to reduce health risks
- Angler Wayne's Fish-Fillet Demonstration (PDF, Washington State Department of Health) shows you how to properly fillet a fish.
- What A Catch, Healthy Fish Preparation (Video from Environmental Services) shows you how to fillet and cook fish to reduce the health risks.
- What a Catch, Cookbook (PDF from Environmental Services) is a cookbook with steps for healthy fish preparation along with recipes.
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