State issues mercury advisory for popular fishing spot

Posted at 9:01 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 23:59:05-05

NORMANDY, Tenn. (WTVF) — There’s something in the water at a popular mid-state fishing spot.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials say they found high mercury levels in some fish at the Normandy Reservoir in Bedford and Coffee counties, so the state has issued a warning for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass at the reservoir.

The state is warning against pregnant women and children eating the fish at all. TDEC says everyone else should only eat one meal a month of fish caught in the reservoir.

Scientists say global coal burning is likely the cause of the high mercury levels.

“Basically, what happens is the coal burning emissions go in the atmosphere, and there’s elemental mercury in there,” said Nathan Haag with the School of Science and Math at Vanderbilt. “That elemental mercury can carry for miles and miles. It can be due to some coal burning in another state or even another country.”

The state says it will put up signs at access points around Normandy Reservoir warning anglers about the risk.