DE PERE - Fishing along the Fox River may not be getting any easier, but new health advisories issued by the Department of Natural Resources may allow you to keep more of those you catch.
Michelle Bence and her family love to fish the Fox River in De Pere.
“Last weekend, we got some perch, some smallmouth bass, pretty much anything we can. It's just for fun,” said Bence of Green Bay.
But now, another fish has been added to the day's possible catch. The DNR has relaxed the health advisories on certain fish.
From Little Lake Butte des Morts near Appleton to the De Pere dam, people will now be able to safely eat one northern pike per week.
From the De Pere dam to the mouth of the Fox River in Green Bay, six meals of white bass per year can now be caught and kept. And in the waters of Green Bay north to Marinette, the new advisory allows 6 meals of white bass per year, and northern pike under 27 inches, the allowance is one meal per week.
The DNR says years of PCB dredging on major stretches of the Fox River may be showing results.
“There's a very clear correspondence between the cleanup and safer fish. We fully expect that's what we'll see down here, but this being what it is, we'll keep testing,” said Ed Culhane, DNR spokesperson.
Others say dredging needs to continue.
“Every year, many many pounds of PCBs flow into the bay of Green Bay that will never be recovered and become part of that ecosystem. So our concern is to get the dredging done, get it while it's still available,” said Dean Hoegger, Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin in a phone interview.
Signs can be found in three languages warning people about the dangers of eating contaminated fish. In this stretch of the Fox River, the White Bass will soon be taken off this sign.
“We were just talking about how before you couldn't even eat the fish out of the Fox River, and if they're lifting a ban where you can eat them now, it might be more fun,” said Avella Bence of Denmark.
“We hurt the river and now we're fixing it up, we need to keep going with that effort,” said Culhane.
Want to know if the fish you've just caught is safe to eat or how much of it you can eat? Click here to search the DNR’s fish advisory page.
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