New York Department of Health expands advisory against eating fish caught around Cornwall Island

AKWESASNE — Citing new data on PCB contamination, the New York State Department of Health is advising against eating all fish caught in the St. Lawrence River on the south side of Cornwall Island.

The Department previously advised strict limits on the amount of fish consumed from the involved stretch of river — from the international bridge connecting Cornwall Island to Massena and downstream to Raquette Point on the south shore of Akwesasne. But the Department cut the number to zero in its latest annual update last month.

The latest advisory expands the general area where all fish are deemed unfit to eat in the St. Lawrence, beyond the mouth of the Grass River and down that waterway west to the Massena Power Canal.

Below, a custom map showing the approximate new area of advisory, based on the description from the New York State Department of Health. The state says fish in this area shouldn’t be consumed anymore because of new data on PCB contamination.

The custom map below shows the new area of concern (in red) plus an existing area to the west (in grey) already subject to the same advisory

The PCB pollution has been attributed to large industries that operated in the Massena, NY, area.

The state’s broadened advisory falls in line with six-year-old guidelines published by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s (SRMT) Environment Division.

Division Director Tony David thanked the Department of Health and other state agencies for “echoing our recommendations in a spirit of partnership that protects public health, as our waterways recover.”

The update, David said, is “recognition” of the”Tribe’s efforts to protect community health,” adding, “Fish are an important food source for Akwesasne residents; however, restrictions on consumption of locally caught fish are still necessary due to the lasting impacts of local pollution.”


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