Texans have received a warning from the state department of health about six species of fish caught in portions of the Neches River Basin due to fish testing for heightened levels of mercury and dioxins. The area of concern is a portion of the Neches River Basin that includes Sam Rayburn Reservoir and B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. It stretches from the State Highway 7 bridge west of Lufkin downstream to the U.S. Highway 96 bridge near Evadale, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The affected species consist of:
- Blue catfish (over 30 inches)
- Flathead catfish
- Gar (all species)
- Largemouth bass (over 16 inches)
- Smallmouth buffalo
- Spotted bass (over 16 inches)
Women of childbearing age and children under 12 are advised not to eat any amount of fish caught from the area. Adult men and women past childbearing age should not eat any smallmouth buffalo and should only eat a maximum of one 8 oz. meal per month of the flathead catfish and gar, while only a maximum of two 8 oz. meals per month of the blue catfish, largemouth bass or spotted bass. Children younger than 12 and women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant should avoid eating these fish because the nervous systems of unborn and young children are particularly susceptible to toxins, the health department said.