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EPA Sets Mercury Limits in California Waterways (July 2017)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released newly approved criteria for mercury limits in California waters. California’s State Water Resources Control Board set these initial standards that will limit the amount of mercury allowed to be present in fish tissue in an effort to conserve aquatic wildlife and promote public health. New criteria has also been released on mercury’s presence in subsistence fishing and tribal fishing.

California’s new rules will set five new standards for mercury presence in fish tissue in general subsistence fishing, tribal subsistence fishing, sport fishing, fish that are used for food, and prey fish. These standards aim to increase awareness of mercury levels found in popular fish including salmon, bass, and sturgeon.

These new mercury limits are different for each type of fishing and target human health or wildlife health objectives. The limits will apply to enclosed bays, inland surface waters, and estuaries (not including water bodies where approved site-specific objectives already exist).

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