New Jersey Fish Consumption Advisories

Interactive Online Map | Booklet

DO NOT EAT OR HARVEST BLUE CLAW CRABS FROM THE NEWARK BAY AREA
(including Newark Bay, Kill Van Kull, Arthur Kill, Hackensack River, and Passaic River)

Statewide Estuarine and Marine Waters
(Applies to all coastal waters and includes the water way specific advisories)

SpeciesGeneral PopulationHigh Risk Population*
Striped BassOne meal per monthDo not eat
American EelFour meals per yearDo not eat
Bluefish (>6lbs./24 in)Six meals per yearDo not eat
Bluefish (<6lbs./24 in)One meal per monthDo not eat
American LobsterDo not eat the green gland (tomalley)**Do not eat the green gland (tomalley)**

Statewide Freshwater
(Applies to all waters except Pinelands region and includes waterbody specific advisories)

SpeciesGeneral PopulationHigh Risk Population*
Trout^One meal per weekOne meal per week
Largemouth BassOne meal per weekOne meal per month
Smallmouth BassOne meal per weekOne meal per month
Chain PickerelOne meal per weekOne meal per month
Sunfish***No restrictionsOne meal per week
Brown BullheadNo restrictionsOne meal per month
Yellow BullheadNo restrictionsOne meal per month
Common CarpOne meal per monthDo not eat

Pinelands Region
(Applies to all Pinelands waters including waterbody specific advisories)

SpeciesGeneral PopulationHigh Risk Population*
Largemouth BassOne meal per monthDo not eat
Smallmouth BassOne meal per weekOne meal per month
Chain PickerelOne meal per monthDo not eat
Sunfish***No restrictionsOne meal per month
Brown BullheadOne meal per weekDo not eat
Yellow BullheadOne meal per weekDo not eat
Common CarpOne meal per weekOne meal per month

For all freshwater fish without specific advisories, eat no more than

General PopulationHigh Risk Population*
One meal per weekOne meal per month

Footnotes

*High-Risk Individuals include infants, children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and women of childbearing age.

**Do not eat the hepatopancreas, discard cooking liquid

***Sunfish includes bluegill, pumpkinseed, and redbreast sunfish species.

^ Brown, Brook, Rainbow, & Hybrid Species

One meal is defined as an eight-ounce serving.

Eat only the fillet portions of the fish. Use proper trimming techniques to remove fat, and cooking methods that allow juices to drain from the fish (e.g., baking, broiling, frying, grilling, and steaming).

No harvest means no taking or attempting to take any blue crabs from these waters.

What does an advisory level mean for eating fish?

These advisories are based on an estimated 1 in 10,000 risk of cancer during your lifetime from eating fish at the advisory level. This means that one more cancer may occur in 10,000 people eating fish at the advisory level for a lifetime.

Why do I need to know about a fishing advisory?

By using these advisories, you have the necessary information to make an informed choice on the number of meals of fish to consume. You can reduce your risk further by eating less than the advisory meal frequency, but, this needs to be balanced with the health benefits of eating fish.

How much fish under an advisory can I consume safely?

The limits that follow each species assume that no other contaminated fish are being eaten. If you eat more than one species of fish listed in the advisory, the total consumption of fish should not exceed the recommended frequency as a guideline for consumption. The best approach is to use the lowest recommended frequency as a guideline for consumption.

I do not see my fishing location under advisory. Does that mean it’s safe?

If your specific fishing location is not mentioned within the advisories, this does not mean the fish are free of contamination. Not all New Jersey waters or fish species have been tested, and not all fish species were found in all locations, or in some cases available data were insufficient to list a species for a specific water body.

I think there is a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in the water body where I caught my fish. Can I eat the fish?

If you are concerned about consuming fish from a water body that is experiencing a suspected Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), please refer to the guidance from the NJDEP Division of Water Monitoring and Standards.

Fish Related Research Projects and Publications

  • A Pilot Trap Survey of Artificial Reefs in New Jersey for Monitoring of Black Sea Bass, Tautog, and Lobster (2021)
  • New Jersey’s Coastal Estuaries Inventory – Project Years 1-3 (2016-2019) (2021)
  • Comprehensive Estuarine Fish Inventory Program: Great Bay-Mullica River: Year Three (2021)
  • Reconnaissance of Surface Water Estrogenicity and the Prevalence of Intersex in Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus Dolomieu) Inhabiting New Jersey (2020)
  • Investigation of Levels of Perfluorinated Compounds in New Jersey Fish, Surface Water, and Sediment (2019)
  • Trophic Transfer of Oil Contaminants from Menhaden Fish: Will the Gulf Oil Spill Effect NJ? (2013)
  • Pilot Study: Chemical Contaminant Concentrations in Juvenile Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) from New Jersey Coastal Estuarine Waters (2009)
  • Integrated Biomarkers for Assessing the Exposure and Effects of Endocrine Disruptors and Other Contaminants on Marine/Estuarine Fish (2008)
  • Investigation of Potential Concentrations and Sources of Contaminants in New Jersey Hatchery Trout (2007)
  • Survey of New Jersey’s Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, Recreational Fishery, Year 1 – Delaware Bay (2007)
  • Bioassessment Integration Study: Systems Ecology Evaluation of US EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocols in New Jersey (Macroinvertebrates, Periphyton, Fish, and Habitat) (2006)
  • Routine Monitoring of Toxics in New Jersey Fish
    • Year Five– Upper and Lower Delaware River Region and Associated Tributaries (2013)
    • Year Four– Atlantic Coastal Region (2009)
    • Year Three– Raritan Region (2008)
    • Year Two– Marine/Estuary Coastal Region (2006)
    • Year One– Passaic River Region (2005)
  • Perceived Impacts of Fish Consumption Advisories on the Recreational Fishing Boat Industry in New Jersey (2003)
  • Estimate of Cancer Risk to Consumers of Crabs Caught in the Diamond Alkali Site and the Newark Bay Complex from 2,3,7,8-TCDD and 2,3,7,8-TCDD Equivalents (2002)
  • Assessment of PCBs, Selected Organic Pesticides, and Mercury in Fishes from New Jersey: 1998-1999 Monitoring Program
  • Assessment of Total Mercury Concentrations in Fish from Rivers, Lakes & Reservoirs in NJ (1999)
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Chlordane, and DDTs in Selected Fish and Shellfish-NJ Waters, 1988-1991: NJ’s Toxics in Biota Monitoring Program (1993)
  • Dioxins in Tissues from Crabs from the Raritan/Newark Bay System (1993)
  • Development of Management Strategies for Contaminated Fish & Shellfish in NJ (1993)
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Chlordane, & DDTs in Selected Fish & Shellfish-NJ Waters, 1986-1987: NJ’s Toxics in Biota Monitoring Program (1990)
  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) & 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Furan in Blue Crabs & American Lobsters -NY Bight (1988)
  • Study of Dioxin Contamination in Select Finfish, Crustaceans & Sediments-NJ Waterways (1985)
  • PCBs in Selected Finfish Caught within NJ Waters, with Limited Chlordane Data (1983)
  • PCBs in Fish: 1975-1980 A Comprehensive Survey (1982)

Photo credit: NJDEP Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring

Printable Consumption Advisory Brochures

Blue Crab Do Not Eat or Harvest Signs