After spending hours fishing from a riverbank or boat, it would be a natural inclination to want to eat what you have caught.
However, the Kalamazoo River Alliance recently shared a warning on their Facebook page against eating fish out of the Kalamazoo River. Apparently, they've encountered several people who are regularly eating fish from the Kalamazoo River and want to make sure that everyone knows about the potential health threat.
For those who are unaware, the Kalamazoo River is polluted with polychlorinated biphenyls, otherwise known as PCBs. According to an article from clearwater.com,
Studies of PCBs in humans have found increased rates of melanomas, liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, biliary tract cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and brain cancer, and may be linked to breast cancer.
This is specifically what the Kalamazoo River Alliance is warning against. In their post, which you can see here, they went on to say,
Perhaps some know about the risk but don't fully understand the extent of the risk. When the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says "Don't Eat the Fish", that doesn't mean...only eat a few. It means don't eat it EVER. Fish that live in the Kalamazoo River from Comstock all the way to Lake Michigan are contaminated with PCB's
The seriousness of the threat is not worth eating even a single fish.
Now, the question is how does the word get out so that everyone knows just how serious the pollution is in the Kalamazoo River?
The Kalamazoo River Alliance asked people to spread the word which may work. But, a comment on their Facebook post had a very simple idea.
Greg P. wrote: Put up stand alone signs at launches and take outs. They are cheap, easy to put up and maintain. You do have to get approval from whoever is managing the site
It seems like having signs around the river would be the easiest solution. However, there's no word on if this suggestion will be put into motion.
Until then, make sure to tell everyone you know, whether they actively fish or not, that the Kalamazoo River fish are strictly off-limits. As well, michigan.gov has a guide to what fish are safe to eat in Michigan. You can see it here.