D.C. bans eating of rockfish from its waters

WASHINGTON — D.C. is telling people not to eat a local staple: rockfish from its waters.

The Department of Energy and Environment has put the fish, also known as striped bass, on the Do Not Consume list after indepedant testing confirmed high levels of PCBs and other contaminants in the fish.

Longterm exposure to PCBs has been known to cause cancer in animals and numerous health problems for humans.

“We don’t believe there is a safe level of consumption,” says D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, director of the Department of Energy and Environment.

Officials aren’t sure what’s causing the high levels.

The restriction is only on rockfish caught in D.C., where commercial fishing is banned, so you may still find Maryland and Virginia rockfish on local menus, as well as in fish markets and grocery stores. Fish caught in those areas do not have the same toxins.

Some fish are testing healthier then when testing began, Wells says.

“Interestingly, D.C. fish are getting less toxic. The water is getting cleaner. The local fish: the blue cat or channel cat are healthier than they’ve ever been. So even the smaller fast growing fish like sunfish, you could eat four servings a month and you’ll be fine,” he says.

D.C. also removed Potomac River catfish from the Do Not Consume list.

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