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State cites high mercury levels in some Alaska fish

ALASKA - Samples taken from five types of Alaska fish contain too much mercury for unlimited eating, Alaska health officials said.

The fish - halibut over 50 pounds, shark, lingcod, yellow eye rockfish and spiny dogfish - are safe to eat in normal helpings for most people. But they might not be OK in large quantities for pregnant women and small children, according to officials.

"Our largest, most important recommendation is, we want people to eat fish because fish is really good for you," said Lori Verbrugge, a toxicologist with the state Department of Health and Social Services.

All salmon varieties tested low for mercury.

"Don't shy away from all halibut either," Verbrugge said. "The real concern with halibut is a person who catches one large halibut that happens to contain a lot of mercury, and they're eating off it all year."

The state plans to revise its guidelines on how much of the higher-mercury fish people should eat, Verbrugge said. First, the data will be sent to groups of subsistence users, charter fishing operators and others for review.

Source: Anchorage Daily News

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