Fish consumption advisory expanded for Little River in Blount County

TDEC warns about eating bass caught from the Little River / Source (TN.gov)
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued an advisory for the consumption of fish from the Little River in Blount County.

TDEC said the advisory was expanded due to concerns about mercury levels in bass caught from the Little River.

According to a release, "The Little River advisory previously issued in June of 2019 was for a portion of the Little River within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The impacted segment was identified as extending from the national park boundary upstream of Townsend near river mile 35 upstream to the area called “The Sinks” near mile 41.5. Today’s action extends the advisory downstream from the national park boundary down to the U.S. Highway 129 bridge near Maryville. While the previous advisory was for smallmouth bass only, that was because that was the only species of black bass likely to be found within the national park."

TDEC advises that pregnant or nursing mothers and children avoid eating any black bass from the Little River. All others should limit the consumption of bass to one meal per month. Other recreational activities on this river such as rafting, inner-tubing, kayaking, swimming, wading, and catch-and-release fishing carry no risk from mercury. There is no advisory on trout, which were found to have generally low levels of mercury in previous surveys.

“We provide these advisories so people can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume fish they catch,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young said. “Precautionary fish consumption advisories are directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”

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