Fish Consumption Advisories (FCAs)

Fish Consumption


There are a variety of contaminants that can bioaccumulate in the tissues of fish. Bioaccumulation is a process by which contaminant concentrations in animal tissues exceed the concentrations found in the surrounding environment. This occurs because contaminants are sequestered from the environment into the animal’s tissues gradually, resulting in accrual over time.

Every year, ORSANCO collects composite fish samples from species that are thought to be commonly consumed from the Ohio River mainstem. The resulting data are used to provide guidance to states when issuing fish consumption advisories (FCAs). Many states issue species and location specific advisories, designed to inform the general public of potentially harmful levels of contaminants that have been detected in tissues of fishes from that specific area or waterway. Typically, these advisories focus on sportfish including; perches, sunfishes, black basses, temperate basses, catfishes, pike, walleye, and salmonids.

ORSANCO has collected over 2,400 Ohio River composite fish tissue samples, comprising 35 species, spanning the years 1983-Present day. Samples are collected annually from probabilistic pool surveys and fixed station locations, as well as special studies conducted to support state partners. Contaminants sampled for include:

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • PFAS
  • Pesticides
  • Metals (Total Hg, Pb, Cd, Se, MeHg)

View your state specific fish consumption advisory here: