Home > In The Spotlight > Delaware Issues Less Restrictive Fish Consumption Advisory
Delaware Issues Less Restrictive Fish Consumption Advisory
Applies to Portion of Tidal Delaware River (Upper Zone 5)

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services revised the fish consumption advisory for fish caught in a portion of the tidal Delaware River on October 23, 2013. The updated advisory is a result of analysis of recent data on chemical contaminants in fish collected from the river, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans, organochlorine pesticides, and mercury. The revised advisory reflects long-term environmental improvements throughout the Delaware Estuary.

Specifically, the fish consumption advisory for the tidal Delaware River, south from the Delaware/Pennsylvania/New Jersey state lines to the C&D Canal, has been revised from no consumption of any finfish to eat no more than one eight ounce meal of finfish per year. The “do not eat” advice remains in place for women of childbearing age and young children.

Delaware coordinates its advisories in waters shared with New Jersey (including the waters affected by this action) with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The DRBC also works cooperatively with Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to sample fish species representative of the main stem Delaware River to provide data for use by these states in assessing the risk to human health from consumption of fish caught in the river. The DRBC has sampled fish tissue collected at three sites in the non-tidal river above the head of the tide at Trenton, N.J. since 2000 and at five sites in the tidal river since 1990 to follow the trends in contaminant levels. Declining levels of PCBs, the principal contaminant underlying the fish consumption advisories, are responsible for the updated advisory, and reflect the efforts of the DRBC and the states to reduce the loadings of PCBs through the implementation of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) first established in 2003.