Montana agencies are warning people not to consume Yellowstone River mountain whitefish.

Laurel, Montana The Fish Consumption Advisory Board, comprised of DPHHS, DEQ, and FWP representatives, has issued an initial consumption advisory on all mountain whitefish caught in the Yellowstone River from Twin Bridges Road railroad bridge to Laurel.  August 15 to 29.

Long-term guidance and contaminated source testing are needed. More information may prompt the board to update the original consumption warning.

FWP officials tested five mountain whitefish and five rainbow trout of various lengths below the June 24 railway disaster site for contaminants. 

Mountain whitefish tests found phenanthrene levels high enough to advise against eating them. 

The train derailment may have affected mountain whitefish.  These rainbow trout were uncontaminated. No fish were tested, including brown trout.

This week will see more fisheries testing. As available, FWP will target mountain whitefish, rainbow trout, brown trout, shorthead redhorse, longnose suckers, and white suckers. 

Fish will be harvested above and below the derailment. Until more is known about the degree and prevalence of this contamination, those with concerns may want to avoid eating Yellowstone River fish. 

PAHs include phenanthrene. Some PAHs occur naturally, especially in Yellowstone River Basin shale rock, therefore the mountain whitefish's chemical source is unknown. Oil, gas, plastics, and insecticides produce PAHs when burned.

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