New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Karl Moffatt, (505) 476-8007
Public contact: (888) 248-6866
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, SEPT. 4, 2015:
STATE LIFTS CATCH AND RELEASE RECOMMENDATION FOR ANIMAS AND SAN JUAN RIVERS
SANTA FE – New Mexico Department of Game and Fish biologists have determined fish caught in sections of the Animas and San Juan rivers affected by last month’s Gold King Mine wastewater spill in Colorado are safe to eat.
A laboratory in Colorado tested the organs and tissue for lead, mercury, selenium, copper, arsenic and cadmium in 17 fish, five catfish, and 12 trout that were taken from the affected areas of the rivers.
“Tissue samples from fish tested revealed trace amounts of metals that are within acceptable levels for human consumption,” said Mike Sloane, chief of fisheries for the Department. “After consulting with the Environment Department and the Department of Health, we have decided to lift our previous catch and release recommendation on fish caught in the affected reaches of the Animas and San Juan Rivers of New Mexico.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recently announced that fish from the Animas River in Colorado where the spill occurred are also safe to eat.
The Department will continue collecting and testing species of fish and macro-invertebrates in the rivers to monitor the short and long-term effects on aquatic species. Collections will be taken again at six months post-spill, one year post-spill and annually thereafter.