New York State Health Advice on Eating Fish You Catch

Three photos showing people fishing

2024 New York State Department of Health advice for eating the fish you catch is protective yet provides plenty of options for the whole family to enjoy fish you catch. New advice is based on an extensive review of available statewide fish contaminant data and considers input from more than 7,800 anglers.

Find the Advice on Eating Fish you Catch

1. Find the Waterbody Specific Advice for these waters:

2. If you don’t find your waterbody, follow the regional advice for Adirondacks, Catskills or the rest of New York State depending on where you caught your fish.

Image showing a map of New York State fish advisory regions. The Adirondack Region includes Essex, Warren, Hamilton, and Fulton counties and parts of Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, Saratoga, and Lewis counties. The Catskill Region includes parts of Greene, Ulster, Delaware, and Sullivan counties. The New York City and Marine Waters region includes the five New York City boroughs and advice for all marine waters.  For waters without specific advisories in all other counties, follow the statewide advice.

Who You Are Matters

  • People who can get pregnant (under age 50) and children under age 15 should follow the more protective Sensitive Population advice.
  • Chemicals in fish can have a greater effect on childhood development and unborn babies. Many of these chemicals can stay in the human body for decades. People who eat highly contaminated fish and get pregnant may be at higher risk of having children who are slower to develop and learn. Breastfeeding can also pass on some of these chemicals to a baby.
  • Everyone else may have fewer health risks and can eat more fish by following our General Population advice.
  • Adirondack and Catskill freshwaters continue to have their own Regional Advice for eating fish you catch.

What's New for 2024

  • The Statewide Advice, which applies to most New York State freshwaters, is now more protective. It has changed from eating up to four meals a month of any fish to different advice for each fish species.
  • This change is based on new data analysis, the most recent information on mercury toxicity, and guidance from the EPA and neighboring states. It is not because mercury levels in fish have increased. Mercury has been in the New York State environment and in fish for many years.
  • Popular fish such as trout, yellow perch, sunfish, crappie, and smaller walleye are still great choices for eating. However, people should eat less freshwater drum, white perch, and larger walleye and smallmouth bass.
  • When following the Statewide Advice, eat mostly Best and Good Choice species.

Changes to Waterbody-specific Advice

  • Some waters have Specific Advice because certain fish have higher levels of mercury or other chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and perfluorinated alkyl substances and (PFAS) than fish in the rest of the state.
  • Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, and parts of the St. Lawrence River offer the most variety of healthy fish choices making them some of the best fisheries if you want to eat your catch.

More Information

How We Set Advisories

Learn more about how DOH sets advisories to get the benefits of eating fish while avoiding chemicals.

Advisory Maps by County

Maps that highlight public fishing waters and provide anglers with a color-coded guide to consumption advice.

Hudson River Striped Bass

Testing over many decades has shown that some Hudson River striped bass have elevated PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) levels.

Fish from Stores and Restaurants

The FDA and EPA provide advice to sensitive populations about consumption of fish from stores.

Free Publications

New York State Department of Health provides free educational material for fish consumption throughout the state.

About Chemicals and Bacteria in Fish

Additional information about chemicals and bacteria in fish.

Tips for Healthier Eating

You can reduce the amount of some chemicals in fish by following a few easy steps. Learn more here.

Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project

Learn more about The Hudson River Fish Advisory Outreach Project here.

Regional Fish Advisory Programs

New York State Department of Health has participated in many projects related to fish consumption advisories over the years.