SACRAMENTO – A state fish advisory issued today for Collins Lake in Yuba County provides safe eating advice for black bass species, crappie species, and sunfish species.

Collins Lake is located approximately 20 miles northeast of Yuba City. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) developed the recommendations based on the levels of mercury found in fish caught from the lake.

Fish advisory for Collins Lake

“Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are excellent sources of protein,” said OEHHA Director Dr. Lauren Zeise. “By following our guidelines for fish caught in Collins Lake, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.”

When consuming fish from Collins Lake, the following advice is issued:

  • Women ages 18 – 49 and children ages 1 – 17 should not eat black bass species. They may safely eat a maximum of one total serving per week of crappie species or sunfish species.
  • Women ages 50 and older and men ages 18 and older may safely eat a maximum of three total servings per week of sunfish species; or two total servings per week of crappie species; or one total serving per week of black bass species.

One serving is an eight-ounce fish fillet, measured prior to cooking, which is roughly the size and thickness of your hand. Children should eat smaller servings. For small fish species, several individual fish may make up a single serving.

poster with the safe eating advice for Collins Lake is available on OEHHA’s website in both English and Spanish. For fish species found in Collins Lake that are not included in this advisory, OEHHA recommends following the statewide advisory for eating fish from California lakes and reservoirs without site-specific advice.

Mercury is released into the environment from mining and burning coal. It accumulates in fish in the form of methylmercury, which can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in developing children and fetuses. Because of this, OEHHA provides a separate set of recommendations specifically for children up to age 17 and women of childbearing age (18 – 49 years).

OEHHA’s fish advisory recommendations are based on the levels of contaminants, such as mercury, that persist in the environment and accumulate in fish. They are independent of any advisories to limit fish intake due to freshwater or estuarine harmful algal blooms (HABs). Before fishing, check the California HABs Portal to see if there are recommended HAB advisories and always practice healthy water habits.

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 Collins Lake advisory joins more than 100 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. Advisories are available on OEHHA’s Fish Advisories webpage.

OEHHA’s mission is to protect and enhance the health of Californians and the environment through scientific evaluations that inform, support, and guide regulatory and other actions in the state.