State removes “do not consume” catfish advisory from Woods Reservoir

On Thursday, the state removed a “Do Not Consume” advisory from catfish caught at Wood’s Reservoir located in parts of Coffee and Franklin counties. (File Photo)

COFFEE COUNTY, Tenn. — On Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced a change from a Do Not Consume fish consumption advisory to a precautionary advisory for catfish due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on Woods Reservoir in Franklin and Coffee counties.

The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act identifies the commissioner of TDEC as having the authority and responsibility to issue advisories for either water contact hazards like pathogens or excessive health risks due to the accumulation of contaminants in fish or shellfish.

“We provide these advisories so the community can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume the fish they catch,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young. “Unlike Do Not Consume advisories that warn the general population to avoid eating fish from a particular body of water altogether, precautionary fish consumption advisories are specifically directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”

TDEC continues to advise that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children avoid eating catfish in the advisory and that all others limit consumption to one meal per month. Other recreational activities such as boating, kayaking, swimming, wading, and catch-and-release fishing carry no risk.

Over the last decade, the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) and TDEC have collected channel catfish, common carp, white crappie, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass from Woods Reservoir at five stations – Bradley Creek Embayment, Brumalow Creek Embayment, near the dam on the reservoir, near Morris Ferry Bridge, and Rollins Creek Embayment. Based on the fish tissue results, catfish are now below Tennessee’s trigger point of 1.0 mg/kg for PCBs. The data establish a clear basis for changing the current catfish advisory for PCBs from a Do Not Consume advisory to a precautionary advisory. The change is consistent with TDEC’s responsibilities under the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act.

TDEC will update warning signs at primary public access points and will work with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to communicate this information to the public. For a complete listing of Tennessee’s current fishing advisories plus additional information about the advisory issuance process, visit this link. •

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We also provide news and information for the 350,000 folks who come to Lynchburg to visit The Jack Daniel’s Distillery each year. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. You can support us, by clicking here.}