Don’t eat Bay Snook from the Macal River

The Ministry of Health has issued a public advisory on the mercury levels of fish in the Macal River and have stated how much of the Macal River Fish can be eaten per week in order to remain safe. 12 types of fishes were caught from the Macal River of which 50% had levels of mercury above the recommended level.   Of that 50%, only three (3) of those fishes are normally eaten by Belizeans. Those are the Bay Snook, Baca and Botasi. In the case of Bay Snook, the new results indicate that there has been a significant increase in mercury levels to almost three times its pervious reading of 0.61mg/kg todownload 1.44 mg/kg.  This increase in mercury in the fish has reduced the amount eatable to 0.64 ozs. (or a little over half ounce) of Bay snook per week for persons of 175 lbs or older. Due to the very small amount allowable and the likelihood of low adherence by the public, the Ministry is hereby not recommending the eating of Bay Snook from the Macal River until further notice. Similarly due to the high levels of mercury in the Botasi fish only 2.9 oz. and 2.56 oz. of Baca can be eaten per week.” Consumption of high mercury levels can lead to mental retardation in children, poor development of infants, vision impairment, nervousness, and weakening of muscles in the hand and feet.

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