Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
2067 U.S. Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025
Generally, larger, older fish may be more contaminated than younger, smaller fish. You can minimize your health risk by eating smaller fish (that are within legal size limits) and releasing the larger fish.
Contaminants build up in large predators and bottom-feeding fish, like bass and catfish, more rapidly than in other species. By substituting a few meals of bream and other panfish, like crappie, you can reduce your risk.
If you catch a big fish, freeze part of the catch (mark the container or wrapping with species and location), and space the meals from this fish over a period of time.
How you clean and cook your fish can reduce the level of contaminants by as much as half in some fish. Some chemicals have a tendency to concentrate in the fatty tissues of fish. By removing the fish's skin and trimming fillets according to the following diagram, you can reduce the level of chemicals substantially. Mercury is bound to the meat of the fish, so these precautions will not help reduce this contaminant.
The internal organs (intestines, liver, roe, and so forth) and skin are often high in fat and contaminants.
These include the belly fat, side or body fat, and the flesh along the top of the back. Careful trimming can reduce some contaminants by 25 to 50%.
Broil, bake, or grill fish and do not use the drippings. Deep-fat frying removes some contaminants, but discard the oil once you have cooked the fish. Pan frying removes few, if any, contaminants.