Feel free to catch, but whatever you do, don't eat the perch.
The popular catch for sport fishermen and women is unsafe for anyone to eat if caught from San Francisco Bay, say the authors of the list of toxic local fish, which was updated for the first time in 17 years recently, reported the Oakland Tribune.
High levels of mercury and other toxic materials in the Bay make perch unsafe for anyone to eat, the newspaper reported.
Children and women of childbearing age should add white sturgeon, shark and striped bass to the list of verboten aquatic treats, according to officials fromthe state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. "Eating fish is good for you, especially fatty fish," a spokesman for the agency told the Tribune. "But you need to be careful about contaminants."
Runoff from agricultural regions in the Delta and bay-side manufacturing and chemical plants are some of the chief causes of Bay pollution and the subsequent fish toxicity.
Overall restrictions on striped bass have relaxed somewhat since 1994, when the state told sport fishers and other pescatarians that no one should eat striped bass more often than twice a month, and that no striped bass longer than 35 inches should be eaten. New guidelines say that men and women older than 45 can eat striped bass twice a week. Everyone else should lay off.
Salmon, perhaps the state's most popular swimming food, can be eaten every day by people over 45. Folks younger than 45 should eat salmon only twice a week.
The full list of what's safe and what's not is at http://oehha.ca.gov/fish/nor_cal/2011SFbay.html.