Fishing Consumption and Swimming Advisories

Human health protection through fish consumption and swimming advisories in Louisiana.

Fish Consumption and/or Swimming Advisories Due to Mercury or Organic Chemical Contamination

(Advisories last updated April 17, 2024)

Interactive Fish Consumption and Swimming Advisories Map (See below)

  • Click any fish icon to view information such as advisory type, meal recommendations, and issue date for each area.
  • As you zoom into the map a water body layer will appear showing the larger streams and lakes.
  • The legend panel expands using the toggle button (top left corner).
  • Use the search tool, (top right corner) to quickly locate an area of interest (e.g., a specific lake or river). 
  • Note: One meal is considered to be one half pound of fish.

LDEQ developed smart phone applications in 2019 for mobile map viewing of the advisories; changes in the industry have required programing changes to the android version, which is currently unavailable.  Both iOS and android applications are undergoing updates, and will be made available as soon as possible.  The existing iOS cell phone version may be found here: Smart Phone Advisory app. Please check back to the website periodically for more information.  

LDEQ places advisory signs around affected water bodies. For fish consumption advisories, signage is directed at launches and fishing piers; other high use areas may also be marked. Swimming advisories are distributed around the water body.  These signs outline the advisory and how to consume fish caught in the affected area (when applicable). Please contact the LDEQ at 1-866-896-5337 or by e-mail to Water Planning and Assessment Division with any questions or concerns about signage. 

In addition to fish consumption advisory development and dissemination, LDH, in cooperation with LDEQ, issued a brochure describing how to choose, clean and cook recreationally caught fish and shellfish. The brochure, entitled Eating Recreationally Caught Seafood in Louisiana, describes ways to reduce the potential for consuming hazardous compounds that may be present.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Health/Fish Consumption Advisories Program, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), issues fish consumption and swimming advisories to help ensure the safe enjoyment of Louisiana's water resources. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) are also consulted during the course of advisory development and dissemination. An Interagency Agreement between the four agencies was agreed upon July 9, 2012.  

Louisiana's fish consumption advisories are developed using a risk based public health assessment method which establishes consumption levels designed to prevent adverse effects. This approach is used to determine safe consumption levels for different segments of the population. For example, children and pregnant or breast-feeding women are often considered separately in developing consumption advisories because these populations are generally considered to be at greater risk from consumption of contaminated seafood. Therefore, consumption advisories will often be stricter for these populations.

In most cases fish are sampled by the LDEQ in areas of suspected chemical contamination such as near facilities that have experienced spills or had poor wastewater management practices in the past. Where such problems are found LDEQ is active in remediating contaminated areas where this is appropriate and in correcting the actions that caused the contamination to occur. Due to the widespread occurrence of mercury in Louisiana and the nation, popular fishing areas and many other water bodies statewide have been sampled to determine the extent of risks due to mercury. Procedures developed by the LDH, LDEQ, LDWF and LDAF are then implemented to determine if a risk to human health exists. If it is determined there is a need for a health advisory, press releases are prepared for public dissemination of the information. Advisories are also published in LDWF's annual fishing regulations. However, because this is produced once a year it is likely that new advisories have been established following release of the regulations. The document, "Protocol for Issuing Public Health Advisories for Chemical Contaminants in Recreationally Caught Fish and Shellfish," presents details about how fish advisories are developed in Louisiana.

The Tissue Screening Level (TSL) document is a companion document to "Protocol for Issuing Public Health Advisories for Chemical Contaminants in Recreationally Caught Fish and Shellfish." This document provides screening levels for commonly encountered contaminants in seafood tissues. The TSL were developed based on exposure assumptions used in the advisory process. These levels are not intended to be applied as regulatory standards but rather are being proposed as a tool to assist regulated parties in identifying acceptable analytical detection limits for chemicals of concern (COC) in fish/shellfish tissue, evaluating sediment remedial strategies and alternatives, evaluating biomonitoring data, etc.

For more information regarding mercury and other fish consumption advisories contact the LDH hotline at 1-888-293-7020 or call LDEQ Customer Service at 1-866-896-5337.