Press Release

Baltimore, MD (June 3, 2009) The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), in coordination with other eastern coastal states, is issuing a fish consumption advisory to cover striped bass and bluefish caught through recreational fishing in Atlantic coastal waters.

The Department advises that striped bass and bluefish caught through recreational fishing in Atlantic coastal waters should not be eaten by sensitive populations such as pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers, and children six years of age and younger. The general population should eat no more than one meal (eight ounces per adult and three ounces per child) per month of striped bass, and one meal every other month of bluefish.

Bluefish over 20 inches and large migratory striped bass tend to contain higher levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a banned substance that is classified as a neurotoxin and a probable human carcinogen. Because levels at which PCBs are found in these popular fish are of concern to MDE, the Agency is taking this action.

“This effort reflects the benefits of cooperation across state lines to protect public health,” said MDE’s Science Services Director Rich Eskin. “To protect public health, MDE will monitor PCB levels in coastal marine striped bass and bluefish, and we will update consumption advisories as needed.”

Other states issuing similar advisories include: Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware. These advisories are based on a 2008 report by the Eastern Coastal Striped Bass and Bluefish Consumption Advisory Workgroup. In an effort to develop consistent advisories for striped bass and bluefish caught in eastern coastal waters, the Workgroup evaluated methods used by states for developing consumption advisories regarding PCB concentration in striped bass and bluefish from Maine to Georgia.

The Department continually updates fish consumption advisories to reflect new data.