New Fish Consumption Warning Signs at Some Md. Waterways

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is sending a clear message about the safety of some Baltimore County waterways, providing the county with new metal signs to alert people about fish consumption advisories.

MDE tells Bay Bulletin the agency recently sent 60 metal signs, half in English and half in Spanish, to be posted around waterways where it may not safe to eat the fish or crabs.

According to MDE spokesman Jay Apperson, ” A consumption advisory is a recommendation to limit or avoid eating certain species of fish caught from specific water bodies due to environmental factors that have the potential to increase health risks…based on the analysis of fish tissue.”

Currently there are consumption advisories in more than seven waterways including the Patapsco, Middle and Back Rivers as well as the Baltimore Harbor, for catches like blue crabs and catfish. To see the full list of advisories, click here.

In the past, posted signs were laminated paper, and were frequently removed or damaged. It will be up to Baltimore County to determine placement of the new, metal signs.

While MDE has issued fish consumption advisories for years, the department recently launched an interactive online map to make the advisories more accessible. The new metal signs include a QR code, so that if advisories are updated, people at the waterfront can check the most recent status online.

Prince George’s County recently got the metal signs for use on the Anacostia River. MDE’s eventual goal is to provide these metal signs to all Maryland counties.

-Meg Walburn Viviano