April 22, 2014
Free cookbook, new videos and more online to help enjoy eating the day's catch
MADISON - Just in time for the opening day of Wisconsin's inland fishing season: new research reveals just how good Wisconsin fish can be for anglers' hearts and brains while a free new online cookbook and new videos aim to help anglers savor the flavor of their catch and maximize the health benefits while minimizing exposure to environmental contaminants that may be in the fish.
"Fishing is a great tradition in Wisconsin and now we know even more about the health benefits of eating sport fish," says Meghan Williams, a Department of Natural Resources toxicologist who works on the fish consumption advisory. "We're also trying to give anglers more interactive, friendly ways to understand the health benefits and minimize the risks of eating the fish they catch."
All of the new materials - plus an online query tool allowing anglers to look up consumption advice for specific lakes -- can be found on by searching the DNR website for keywords "eat your catch."
DNR sent samples of nearly 200 sport fish representing 15 species to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and the Minnesota Health Department to be analyzed for several types of fatty acids, including five types of omega-3's. The testing revealed that an 8-ounce serving of all 15 species analyzed will provide the adequate intake level of two fatty acids important in preventing heart diseases and hypertension, and in brain and eye development, Williams says.
"The good news is that Wisconsin sport fish contain high enough concentrations of beneficial fatty acids that you don't need to eat them every day," says Candy Schrank, who coordinates the fish consumption advisory. "In fact, eating one or two meals per month of some species will get the job done. Check the consumption advice that applies to your fishing spot and start enjoying the health benefits."
Read "A Healthy Dose of Flavor," in the April Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine to learn which fish species tested highest for these beneficial fatty acids and get tips on avoiding exposure to mercury and PCBs, two common fish contaminants.
Using a grant from the Department of Health Services, a partner in issuing the fish consumption advice, DNR has updated videos about the benefits and concerns of eating fish, and how to use the state's fish consumption advice to choose fish meals high in nutritional benefits and low in environmental contaminants.
Wisconsin has been testing fish for environmental contaminants since the 1970s and issuing fish consumption advice to help people reduce their exposure to the contaminants while enjoying the good food, health benefits and fun of eating the fish they catch.
Most waters in the state are covered by general statewide advice, while 128 waters carry more specific, stringent advice due to higher contaminant levels in fish from those waters.
Anglers can start the 2014 fishing season off on a delicious note by trying a new recipe for preparing the fish they catch. DNR's new Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes cookbook is now available online for downloading.
The cookbook illustrates the wide variety of Wisconsin fish species that can be eaten - gar on the half-shell, anyone? - and features recipes submitted by Wisconsin anglers and chefs. The cookbook also highlights species and recipes that maximize health benefits while reducing health risks of eating fish, and passes along helpful tips for fileting northern pike, suckers and redhorse to remove the "Y" bones.
"We hope the cookbook gives people some new recipes for their fish dishes and provides a fun, interactive way to learn about the health benefits of eating fish and about Wisconsin's fish consumption advisories," Williams says.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Meghan Williams 608- 267-9665 or Candy Schrank, 608- 267-7614