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  • Q2 News

    Montana FWP: Don’t eat the sucker fish

    By Daily Montanan,


    Beware the sucker fish from the Yellowstone River.

    The Fish Consumption Advisory Board, consisting of representatives from the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services, Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), has issued an updated consumption advisory for fish on the Yellowstone River, reports the Daily Montanan .

    Women of reproductive age and young children (age 0 to 6) are advised to not consume any species of sucker caught in the Yellowstone River from the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel to the confluence with the Bighorn River due to elevated levels of petroleum hydrocarbons, said a joint news release from the state agencies.

    The news release said sampling will continue this summer with a focus on monitoring for human health, not for detecting the source, which it said would be difficult.

    Sucker species common in the advisory area include shorthead redhorse, longnose sucker and white sucker. There are no advisories on using sucker meat from this section of river as bait while angling for other fish species.

    The previous consumption advisory for all species of fish on the Yellowstone River from Indian Fort Fishing Access Site to the Highway 212 bridge in Laurel has been lifted.

    The news release said sampling will continue in late June at Otter Creek, Holmgren Ranch and Voyager’s Rest fishing access sites on the Yellowstone River to monitor for human consumption concerns.

    Because of their frequent movement throughout river systems, fish cannot be used to determine the source of a specific contaminant, the news release said.

    Other testing methods will be needed to determine a source of this specific contaminant in the Yellowstone River, the news release said. The hydrocarbons detected in the September 2023 fish samples are widespread compounds in the environment, so finding a specific source may be challenging, according to the state.

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