NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has extended a precautionary fish consumption advisory for all catfish species at the Cheatham Reservoir in Davidson and Cheatham counties due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
According to a statement released on Thursday, Sept. 7, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children are urged to avoid eating the catfish. For everyone else, TDEC recommends limiting consumption to one meal per month.
However, officials said other recreational activities — such as boating, kayaking, swimming, wading, and catch-and-release fishing — do not carry any risk.
In 2022, TDEC said it collected catfish, freshwater drum, spotted bass, and largemouth bass from the reservoir at two stations: the Lytle Farms area and near Pardue Pond Wildlife Refuge.
The department reportedly extended the precautionary catfish advisory based on the fish tissue results that document catfish species now significantly exceed Tennessee’s trigger point of 0.047 mg/kg for PCBs.
According to officials, the advisory applies to the entire Cheatham Reservoir, per TDEC’s responsibilities under the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act.
“We provide these advisories so the community can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume the fish they catch,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young. “Unlike ‘do not consume’ advisories that warn the general population to avoid eating fish from a particular body of water altogether, precautionary fish consumption advisories are specifically directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”
TDEC said it will not only post warning signs at primary public access points, but it will also work with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to share this information with the community.
For a complete list of Tennessee’s current fishing advisories, as well as additional details about the advisory issuance process, click here.