AKWESASNE (WWTI) — Fish caught in certain areas of Akwesasne should not be consumed. This is based on a warning from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Environment Division.

The Tribe said although fish are an important food source for Akwesasne residents, restrictions on locally caught fish are still necessary.

According to the Division, this is due to elevated levels of toxins, including polychlorinated biphenyls and mercury deriving from local pollution.

The World Health Organization warns that ingesting high levels of mercury can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys and could eventually be fatal. Mercury ingestion, inhalation or exposure has also been linked to behavioral disorders. The toxin cannot be cooked off.

Health experts have also linked high exposures of PCBs to skin conditions such as acne, as well as changes in blood and urine. The toxin is commonly found in the fat, which can be cooked off if in small amounts.

To prevent high exposures to these toxins, consumption restrictions specifically apply to the area from the lower seven miles of the Grasse River, the South Channel Bridge at the Franklin and St. Lawrence County line on the St. Lawrence River, to the north end of Raquette Point.

Less restrictive general fish consumption rules apply to fish caught outside of this area. More information can be found on the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe website.