2 weeks ago, we told you about the preliminary results which the Ministry of Health gathered on the mercury levels in fish from the Macal River. Today, the Ministry released those official results.
They say that they collaborated with the Department of Environment and the Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL) to test the mercury levels in fishes from the Macal, Mopan, Belize, Rio Grande, and New Rivers. They're now making recommendations on the safe amount of fish that the general public should consume so they can avoid the ill effects of potential mercury exposure.

Only 3 out of the 18 fish species tested had mercury levels above the recommended dose of 0.5 milligrams per kilograms. These species are the Botasi and the Cichlid from upstream Vaca Dam, and the Bay Snook from the Cristo Rey Village area, along the Macal River. The Botasi contained almost twice the amount of recommended mercury levels of 0.95 milligrams per kilogram. The Bay Snook had 0.83 milligrams per kilogram, and the Chiclid had 0.71 milligrams per kilogram. They are all from the Macal River.

As a result, the Ministry wants residents in this part of the country to find replacement food sources for these 3 species of fish. But, if residents absolutely must eat these fishes, they are recommending that for the Bay Snook from Cristo Rey Village, you should only consume 1.7 ounces. For the Botasi from Upstream Vaca Dam, you should only eat 4.7 ounces. For the Chichlid, also from Upstream Vaca Dam, you should only eat 2.8 ounces.

They're recommending that the general public eat fish from other locations in the country. Additionally, you should eat replacement foods such as local chicken, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, avocados, and spinach. Additionally, you should use oils from flaxseed, canola, corn, olive or soybean.

Channel 7

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The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Environment and the Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), has completed another assessment of mercury levels in fishes from the Macal, Mopan, Belize, Rio Grande, and New rivers. The following advisory is being issued to guide the public on the safe amounts of fish that can be eaten to avoid ill effects of potential mercury exposure.

Macal River Fish

Analysis from this yearís mercury testing indicated that only 3 of 18 fish species tested had mercury levels above the recommended dose of 0.5 mg/kg. These were Botasi and Cichlid from upstream Vaca Dam and Bay Snook from the Cristo Rey village area along the Macal River in the Cayo District.

The Botasi was found to contain almost twice the recommended level of mercury for fish consumption at 0.95 mg/kg. The Bay Snook had 0.83 mg/kg and the Cichlid 0.71mg/kg. All three fish species with elevated mercury were samples collected from the Macal River. Important to note is that all other fish from the other four rivers had acceptable levels.

The Ministry hereby notifies the public that weekly amounts of fish allowed to be eaten from the above-mentioned locations are as follows:

Bay snook from Cristo Rey Village area- 1.7 ounces
Botasi from Upstream Vaca Dam - 4.7 ounces
Cichlid from Upstream Vaca Dam- 2.8 ounces

It is also recommended that the following be eaten to serve as replacement options for the omega fatty acids that may be lost from the diet by not eating fish:

1.Eat fish from other locations in the country.
2.Eat replacement foods such as local chicken, pumpkin seeds (pepitos), sesame seeds (Wangla seed), cashew nuts, avocados, spinach.
3.Use of oils from flaxseed, canola, corn, olive or soybean

The Ministry of Health assures the public that it remains watchful on this issue and will continue to issue the necessary advisories as required.

Letís remain safe and healthy and follow the recommended weekly consumption quantities of fish from the Macal River.

Last edited by Marty; 09/18/19 06:20 AM.