Fish Advisory for Imperial County’s Wiest Lake Offers Safe Eating Advice for Four Fish Species

Sam Delson
(916) 324-0955 (O)
(916) 764-0955 (C)

SACRAMENTO – A new state fish advisory issued today provides safe eating advice for four species of fish from Imperial County’s Wiest Lake.

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) developed the recommendations based on the levels of selenium measured in fish from Wiest Lake, which is located approximately six miles northeast of Brawley.

“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are an excellent source of protein,” said Dr. Lauren Zeise, director of OEHHA. “By following our guidelines, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants, such as those from Wiest Lake, and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”

When consuming fish from Wiest Lake, men, women, and children ages 1-17 may safely eat seven servings per week of Channel Catfish, or six servings per week of black bass species, or four servings per week of sunfish species or crappie.

One serving is eight ounces prior to cooking. For fish fillets, eight ounces is roughly the size and thickness of your hand. Children should be given smaller servings.

Selenium is a naturally occurring element, and in small amounts is an essential nutrient. High levels of selenium can cause health problems, such as gastrointestinal distress and dizziness.

Eating fish in amounts slightly greater than the advisory’s recommendations is not likely to cause health problems if it is done occasionally, such as eating fish caught during an annual vacation.

The health advisory and eating advice for Wiest Lake – as well as eating guidelines for other fish species and California bodies of water – are available on OEHHA’s Fish Advisories webpage: Pictorial versions of the fish consumption advice are also available on that page in English and Spanish.

The Wiest Lake recommendations join more than 80 other OEHHA advisories that provide site-specific, health-based fish consumption advice for many of the places where people catch and eat fish in California, including lakes, rivers, bays, reservoirs, and the California coast.

OEHHA is the primary state entity for the assessment of risks posed by chemical contaminants in the environment. Its mission is to protect and enhance public health and the environment by scientific evaluation of risks posed by hazardous substances.