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Fish Consumption Advisory Board issues consumption advisory of fish near train derailment on Yellowstone River

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Mountain whitefish. ADOBE STOCK PHOTO.


According to a release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, fish from the Yellowstone River between Indian Fort Fishing Access Site near Reed Point Highway to U.S. Highway 212 bridge near Laurel, Montana should not be consumed after results showed presence of chemicals following a train derailment on June 24 this year.

“Various polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, were detected at levels high enough to warrant this advisory for all fish species, both game and nongame,” the release stated. 

The FWP study involved the collection and testing of longnose suckers, shorthead redhorse, rainbow trout, brown trout and mountain whitefish. Researchers collected fish 6.5 miles upstream and 6.2 miles downstream of the derailment site.  

“Specific PAHs found in these fish include naphthalene, found in multiple species, and 1- and 2-methylnaphthalene and acenaphthylene found only in mountain whitefish,” the release stated. 

Species of trout migrate seasonally in the Yellowstone River, seeking colder water temperatures. Because of the unknown movement of fish from the site, FWP advises anglers to proceed with caution. 

“Out of an abundance of precaution and unknown conditions in adjacent sections of the river, those with specific concerns may want to avoid consuming all species of fish from the Yellowstone River at any location until more is known on the severity and prevalence of this contamination,” the release stated. 

FWP plans to expand testing of the Yellowstone River to better understand the source of the contamination. PAHs are found in combustion of oil, charcoal, plastics and pesticides and can also be produced in the combustion of these products. 

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