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Kansas issues fish consumption advisories for 2023


Written by: Press Release Posted by David Elliott Date Posted: 2023-26-01

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) are issuing seafood advisories for 2023.

The alerts identify types of fish or other aquatic animals that should be eaten in limited quantities or, in some cases, avoided altogether due to contamination. General advice and Internet resources are provided to help the public make informed decisions regarding the benefits and risks associated with consuming locally caught seafood in Kansas waters.

Bottom-feeding fish are buffalo, carp, catfish, sturgeon, and suckers. Shellfish are mussels, clams and prawns.

Serving sizes (fish fillets without skin before cooking) for adults and children 13 and older are eight ounces, children 6 to 12 are four ounces, and children under six are two ounces.

Going out to fish and eating fish has many health benefits, but all fish contain some amount of mercury. Anyone who habitually eats fish or serves fish to their children should carefully consider the types and quantities they eat, including store-bought fish. Too much mercury in the diet can harm developing fetuses, infants, and growing children. Therefore, people sensitive to mercury (pregnant, nursing or potentially pregnant women, and children under the age of 17) should follow the guidelines presented below for eating Kansas-caught fish.

Eat smaller portions: a tenderloin the size of your palm. Eat types of fish with the least mercury (Preferred Choice Fish in the table below). If you don’t know the type or size of fish you’re eating, wait at least a week before eating it again. When fishing, keep fish shorter than forearms (from fingertips to elbow) or less than 20 inches as regulations allow.

Favorite Choice Fish


Blue and channel catfish

Common carp


White Bass, White Perch, Wiper, Striped Bass

Walleye, Sauger, Sauger

Bullhead catfish


Sunfish (Bluegill, Green, Redear, etc.)

1 or 2

per week

Second choice fish


Buffaloes (black, large mouth, small mouth)

Flathead catfish

Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth and Spotted)

1 or 2

per month

Reduce the above recommendations if you tend to keep fish larger than about 20 inches to:

  • Preferred Choice Fish – no more than one serving per week
  • Second Choice Fish – no more than one serving per month

For specific questions or concerns about mercury in Kansas fish, contact KDHE. For information about mercury in foreign-caught fish, store-bought fish, and other types of seafood, visit the US EPA and US FDA websites.

Kansas recommends limiting the consumption of bottom-feeding fish and catfish to one serving per week from the following locations due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):

  • Cow Creek at Hutchinson and downstream to its confluence with the Arkansas River (Reno County).
  • The Kansas River from Lawrence (below Bowersock Dam) downstream to Eudora at the confluence of the Wakarusa River (Douglas and Leavenworth counties).
  • Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge immediately west of Valley Center to its confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

Kansas recommends limiting bottom-feeding fish and catfish to one serving per month from the following location due to PCBs: Lake K-96 in Wichita (Sedgwick County).

Kansas recommends not eating specified fish or aquatic life from the following locations:

  • Arkansas River from Lincoln Street Dam in Wichita downstream to its confluence with Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine (Sedgwick and Sumner counties); bottom-feeding fish and catfish due to PCBs.
  • Shoal Creek from the Missouri/Kansas border to Empire Lake (Cherokee County); molluscs due to lead and cadmium.
  • Spring River from the confluence of Center Creek to the Kansas-Oklahoma line (Cherokee County); molluscs due to lead and cadmium.
  • Antioch Park Lake South in Antioch Park, Overland Park (Johnson County); all fish due to the pesticides dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane and dichlorophenyltrichloroethane (DDT).
  • Arkalon Park Lakes in Liberal (Seward County) – Kansas recommends not eating aquatic life because the lakes are fed only by treated municipal wastewater.

To date, algal toxin levels measured in fish samples collected from waters affected by harmful algal blooms (HABs) suggest that the fish are safe to eat. However, please take the following precautions: avoid skin contact with water, wear gloves when handling wet fish and equipment, rinse fish with clean water, remove skin from fillets, and rinse with clean water before cooking or freezing, eat only skinless fillets and do not eat shellfish.

To reduce exposure to chemicals in fish, keep smaller fish from eating and let large ones go, avoid eating parts of fish other than fillets, remove fat from fillets, and/or use cooking methods that allow the fat to trickle away, avoid subsistence fishing (reliance on wild caught fish for daily nutritional requirements) in rivers within or immediately downstream of large urban/industrial areas, and do not eat fish or aquatic life from sewage discharges , waste treatment lagoons or stormwater retention ponds.

To view online alerts and for information on KDHE’s Fish Tissue Contaminant Monitoring Program, visit

For Kansas fishing information, including licenses, regulations, fishing reports, and fishing forecasts, visit the KDWP Fishing website at

For information on the health benefits versus risks of including fish in your diet, visit the American Heart Association website at

For technical information regarding the US EPA risk assessment methods used to determine indicative drinking limits, visit this site

(Information courtesy of KDHE.)

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