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>> Fish migration and bay pollution re. striper, shark, halibut [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:26 pm
ryanrs


Posts: 31
Location: San Francisco

As someone who grew up in the bay area and knows some of our bay's history, I'm a bit hesitant to eat fish from our waters. I know San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay were both heavily polluted with mercury from mining, some of it pretty recently (Tomales in the 1990s). And I'm sure heavy industry and military shipbuilding over the decades have trashed SF Bay waters quite comprehensively.

But I was wondering about some of the larger migratory species, like striper, leopard sharks(?), and halibut, is there really a difference between a SF bay-caught fish and one of the same species caught off the relatively unpolluted San Mateo coast or central coast? For example, would a striper caught off Half Moon Bay be safer to eat than one caught in SF bay, or is it really all the same because the fish travel in and out of the bay each year?

I think rock fish and surf perch mostly stay in one place, is that right? Because in that case, I can just catch those in the ocean and not worry about contamination.

Basically I'm trying to get a handle on how safe it is to eat the fish I catch. When I see advisories to eat just one serving a month, that worries me.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:41 pm
red fish


Posts: 2655
Location: Berkeley Pier

Ryan, I think you have about as much information that is readily available to the public to make an informed decision.
It is a personal choice from there. I have lived and grown up in the San Francisco Bay as well and fished it for many decades.
For me, I follow all advisories and believe in the science. In example, warnings for children and women in child-bearing age.
True, some fish migrate and some don’t. Some have shorter migratory pathways and some are what you would call resident fish. I have read studies on migratory routes of striped bass in San Francisco Bay back in the mid-80’s and there are claims that a percentage of the fish spend their entire lives in the Bay spawning in the estuaries in locations like Oakland.
An example: If you fish off the shore/piers or fish off a party boat/personal boat within the San Franciso Bay, these are the same fish.
If you are catching rockfish, lings, cabezon from the San Mateo and central coasts, I wouldn’t see a problem with more frequent consumption.
Halibut are on the safe list now but have put one down the garbage disposal the morning I received a newspaper article (with picture of Berkeley Pier angler “Chopper” in it) years ago warning of contamination. Still have the news clipping....
So, for me, it’s a life-long hobby and sometimes a meal. I select what I choose to eat: striper, salmon, halibut, barred surf-perch... on years when I am lucky enough, maybe a white sturgeon.
A personal choice, as long as people have the information about health advisories.

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Well, you lose one you rig one -Quint
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:42 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9780
Location: California

The great majority of piers in the state have advisories such as these — one at the Fort Baker Pier and one at the Redondo Beach Pier. They give useful but limited information.

One of the things they show is that both ocean caught fish and fish in bays can contain toxins. That's especially true with fish that primarily are bottom feeders such as croakers and fish that migrate back and forth from fresh water to salt, i.e, stripers and sturgeon.

As a general rule though, most ocean-caught fish are safer to eat, fish such as most pelagics (salmon, mackerel, tuna), and fish such as rockfish, cabezon, lings, etc.

As described in "Pier Fishing In California" no fish is totally toxin-free nor is much of the food we eat. Life's a risk! However, as far as the fish you catch, I recommend in the book (1) cleaning them properly which removes much of the toxins, (2) cooking the fish in ways that remove toxins, i.e., baking and bbq, and (3) eat fish in moderation.

Many people ignore all these rules, eat fish all the time, and are still healthy. But some aren't so it's best to follow a reasonable approach. Don't be afraid of eating the fish but watch what you eat.

For much more detail read the book.



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:50 pm
ryanrs


Posts: 31
Location: San Francisco

I think I'm not going to worry about it too much, seeing as I'm a middle age man (so not quite as sensitive to pollutants as e.g. someone who is pregnant). I probably also won't be fishing nearly as much as I might like to imagine.

I do still want to catch some sharks, even though they are probably one of the worst species for contamination. But man, they are big fish, seem easy to find, and the firm meat will go well with a number of recipes I know. They're so tempting.

I've been spending a lot of time with Google Earth and I think I've found a nice spot that should be a little cleaner than the SF south bay or Tomales bay. I'll post a report if I ever get out there.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:54 pm
Trumbo


Posts: 866
Location: East bay

A little shark or sturgeon ain’t gunna hurt a man. I wouldn’t feed a bunch to women of childbearing age and children though. That canned tuna in the store is full of mercury too. There’s advisory’s for it as well. I’d be most concerned about pcbs.
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