Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
2070 U.S. Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025
Fish has long been recognized as a nutritious "protein food." It's nutritional value as a protein source is greater than that for beef, pork, chicken, or milk. Additionally, the types and amounts of dietary fats in fish are generally more "heart healthy" than the fats found in other protein foods. Fish is also an important source of the fatty acids which are critical for the development of the brain and nervous system. Fish is an excellent source of several vitamins, and also contributes appreciable amounts of dietary calcium, iron, and zinc. These minerals are essential nutrients that tend to be low in human diets. Many studies suggest that eating fish regularly may help protect against heart and inflammatory diseases.
These guidelines are based on a range in fish meal size from 4 to 8 ounces (1/4 to 1/2 pound). Where the guidelines recommend only one (1) meal per week or month, you may prefer to have two smaller meals over that same period.
The quality of sport fish caught in Georgia is very good; however, of the 43 metals and chemicals tested for by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), only polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordane, and mercury have been found in some fish from a few bodies of water. In most cases, the levels of these contaminants are low. However, to help Georgia anglers and their families evaluate the health risks of eating fish from wild populations, DNR has developed guidelines for how often certain species of fish can be safely eaten. It should be noted that these guidelines are based on the best scientific information and procedures available. As more advanced procedures are developed, these guidelines may change. Also, it is important to keep in mind that these guidelines are based on eating fish with similar contamination over a period of 30 years or more. These guidelines are not intended to discourage people from eating fish, but anglers should use them as a guide for choosing which fish to eat from Georgia waters.