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Thread: State Says Mercury Limits Alaska Fish Consumption

  1. #1

    Default State Says Mercury Limits Alaska Fish Consumption

    On October 15, the State of Alaska announced the first-ever limits on fish consumption due to mercury.
    See http://www.hss.state.ak.us/press/200...tion-facts.pdf
    Larger, older fish - such as yellow eye rockfish, big halibut and lingcod - have shown the most mercury.

    While these new "guidelines" apply only to pregnant women and children, they reflect a growing concern (and note: Alaska's 1 ppm mercury threshold in fish is more than 3 times the level suggested by the EPA). Mercury occurs naturally, but coal-fired power plants in Asia and Russia are the suspected sources for mercury in Alaska fish. Yet coal companies are pushing to open two strip mines - one in Cook Inlet (Chuitna) and one near Point Lay (Western Arctic Coal Project) - that will ship coal to Asia.

  2. #2
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Exclamation I Told You So!!!!

    been blowing this horn so long my lips got sore!
    finally the state posts the data.
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  3. #3

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    I hope this report doesn't change people's perception of alaska. I grew up in a place that once had a booming hunt/fish guiding industry and it was completely dead by the time i was in university. The fishing was very good up there but with the logging operations in its past, many of the lakes and rivers contained mercury. Tourism was heavy when i was younger, business at the float plane hanger at the local lake was steady in both summer and winter when they were outfitted with skis. Sometimes it was so busy that planes would be tied off 2 or 3 deep. Hhaa. I just remembered a funny story. a town idiot looked down an airplane fuel storage tank with a match and burned off his eyebrows, eyelashes and a good chunk of his hair.

    Then they started posting big signs about mercury ingestion and amounts of fish and species people should eat. By the time i was in late highschool, the float plane activity was all but gone except for 3-4 locals kept hobby planes. In the early 90's, they really cleaned up the affected lakes, some were dredged out to remove the contaminated soils, beaches were built, and many other things to try to beautify and renew the tourism but it didn't work. Probably too little, too late. Although the fish is fairly clean today, the stigma remains in my mind and it's passed along to just about every generation, i guess we don't trust politicians. Today, i doubt the hanger even runs. Hunting remained fairly steady throughout the years but when the fly-in fishing died, so did the hunting camps.

  4. #4
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    Default Mercury Source

    The worst part is that our mercury is mostly not a result of in state actions. Mercury gets carried in the atmosphere and rained down into Alaska lakes and streams from more industrialized regions. Also ocean currents carry the mercury from the waters along the Pacific Coast of the US up into the gulf. I'm not supporting mines or anything but I just think it's too bad that we're getting screwed by somewhere else.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by littles View Post
    I hope this report doesn't change people's perception of alaska. I grew up in a place that once had a booming hunt/fish guiding industry and it was completely dead by the time i was in university. The fishing was very good up there but with the logging operations in its past, many of the lakes and rivers contained mercury. Tourism was heavy when i was younger, business at the float plane hanger at the local lake was steady in both summer and winter when they were outfitted with skis. Sometimes it was so busy that planes would be tied off 2 or 3 deep. Hhaa. I just remembered a funny story. a town idiot looked down an airplane fuel storage tank with a match and burned off his eyebrows, eyelashes and a good chunk of his hair.

    .
    littles,
    I'm just wondering how logging can increase mercury content in fish? I can see strip mining and other operations, but I worked building logging roads before and I don't see where mercury played any part in those operations. We built roads, the trees were harvested, then replanted often right over the roads, and that was that. Just curious. Maybe someone else knows.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Smile Hope springs eternal . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by littles View Post
    I grew up in a place that once had a booming hunt/fish guiding industry and it was completely dead by the time i was in university.
    Horrors! . . . . . .


  7. #7

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    In Maine and Northern New Hampshire the Lumber Mills had ponds to hold water to run the Mills. When they would get alge and aquatic plant buildup in parts of the ponds as well as the inlets to the mill the owners would sometimes flush out parts of them with mercury to kill the growths. This would also act as a retardent to keep the growth down for a while. Some of the mercury in the streams and rivers today is from these actions which happened long ago.
    Last edited by Dban1; 10-21-2007 at 15:57. Reason: Grammer

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    littles,
    I'm just wondering how logging can increase mercury content in fish? I can see strip mining and other operations, but I worked building logging roads before and I don't see where mercury played any part in those operations. We built roads, the trees were harvested, then replanted often right over the roads, and that was that. Just curious. Maybe someone else knows.

    not quite the same use as in maine/NH but close. A long time ago, they would soak the logs in mercury to prevent rot before tossing them into waterways to float to where it would be processed. I don't know exactly how far back the logging went but it was well before my time, only lived through the aftermath. There was one operational lumber mill but not the one that affected the lakes i'm talking about. The primary industry in that region was and still is hardrock mining but that had nothing to do with the mercury.

  9. #9

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    Some parts of the state have high amounts of mercury that occurs naturally in the soil/rocks. If you expose it to the atmosphere then the rain can wash it into the rivers.

  10. #10
    Member Jan from Humboldt's Avatar
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    Eat hearty mate, nobody is getting out of this alive.

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