Updated mercury maps available at GLIFWC
By Jennifer Burnett, GLIFWC Great Lakes Outreach Specialist
Odanah, Wis.—Spring spearing and netting of ogaa (walleye) from inland lakes is an important part of the Anishinaabe lifeway. By participating in the spring harvest seasons, tribal members reaffirm their off-reservation treaty harvest rights while providing their families with a nutritious food source. Like many other fish, ogaa is high in protein, low in fat, and a good source of other important nutrients.
However, this tradition often comes with a concern about exposure to mercury through consumption of fish. GLIFWC's mercury maps help tribal members make informed choices that allow continued ogaa consumption while reducing their exposure to mercury.
Under funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ( ), GLIFWC is working on continuing updates to the mercury maps for its member tribes.
The mercury maps were updated in early 2012 after a round of mercury sampling in fish from last year's harvest. They were made available at tribal registration stations or to tribal natural resources departments for this spring's spearing and netting season.
Each map includes the monthly recommended consumption of ogaa for the lakes typically harvested by GLIFWC member tribes. Maps are also available online at www.glifwc.org/Mercury/ for download.
Women of childbearing years and children need to be particularly cautious about the consumption of mercury. Therefore, it is wise to mark packages of ogaa fillets, so the lake of origin is known.
GLIFWC will also be sampling 360 ogaa this spring from commonly harvested lakes in the ceded territories for the level of mercury present. With the results of this spring's testing, there will be another round of updated maps for the 2013 harvest.