Mahoning River comeback: fish get OK from ODNR


YOUNGSTOWN

As the spring fishing season approaches, anglers who eat the fish they catch in the Mahoning River will have reduced health risks to worry about, according to the state’s environmental quality watchdogs.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has removed all Mahoning River fish from its “Do Not Eat” list this year, but the agency still advises consumption frequency limits for fish caught in that river and in Mosquito Creek.

“It shows that there’s been an improvement in water quality,” said Linda Fee Oros, an OEPA spokeswoman.

“The fishing is superb in much of the Mahoning River. What remains, however, are the PCBs and heavy metals in the bottom sediment,” said Jack Wollitz, The Vindicator’s weekly fishing columnist.

“The water itself is clean. The problem is in the bottom muck.”

The “Do Not Eat” advisory for the Mahoning River had been in effect since 1988, so the significance of its cancellation “is huge,” said Stephanie Dyer, environmental program manager at the Youngstown-based Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

“Environmentally, this is a good indication the river is making a comeback,” Dyer added.

In sharp contrast to the fish with tumors caught in 1994, OEPA biologists caught healthy walleye, pike and muskie in the summer 2013 in the lower Mahoning River and its tributaries, Dyer noted.

In Trumbull County, Mosquito Creek anglers should limit themselves to one bluegill meal a week due to PCBs, the agency said.

Read more about the advisories in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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