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The state of New Hampshire has issued a strong advisory about eating fish caught from their waters, which I will print much of here today. But I will also tell you this pertains to all Massachusetts fish, as well.

State officials responsible for monitoring New Hampshire waterways and protecting public health released updated fish consumption advice that includes several new recommendations: Stocked (hatchery-grown) trout are exempt from the statewide advisory; perch are included with other species that have length restrictions regarding consumption.

Fish are a great source of low-fat protein and other nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, but some fish contain mercury. Although mercury levels in fish are usually low, it’s good to follow some precautions to limit mercury exposure if you eat fish often. Infants and children are particularly sensitive to the effects of mercury since their nervous systems are still forming. That is why it is especially important for women who may become pregnant, infants and children to limit eating the fish that contain high levels of mercury.

The updated freshwater fish consumption guidelines are as follows:

For all freshwater fish (except stocked trout), follow these fish consumption guidelines provided by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services (DES):

* Pregnant and nursing women, and women who may get pregnant, can safely eat one 8-ounce meal per month of freshwater fish.

* Children under age 7 can safely eat one 4-ounce meal per month of freshwater fish.

* All other adults and children age 7 and older can safely eat four 8-ounce meals per month of freshwater fish.

* When eating bass, pickerel, white perch or yellow perch, limit consumption to fish 12 inches or less in length while following the above guidelines.

* Stocked trout contain relatively low levels of mercury. For rainbow and brown trout women of childbearing age and children can safely eat one meal per week, others can eat 6 meals per week. Brook trout could be either stocked or from a reproducing population, therefore they should be consumed at the rate of the general statewide advisory.

Use this Web site for a great deal of information not covered here or that may not be clear to you as muddled by me: www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/sw_fish_consumption.htm. To find more information regarding the health effects of mercury or details on waterbody-specific advisories, call the DES Environmental Health Program at (603) 271-3994. In Massachusetts call (508) 389-6300.

A total of 442 coyotes were taken by licensed hunters during the 2007-2008 hunting season. This number is just a small sampling of the number of coyotes we have in this state. Opening the season up by a few extra weeks helped in the harvest of a few more animals but the fact still remains we need to open up the season by several months if we are going to get this predator in check and under control. They are breeding twice a year and will have up to eight pups per litter.

If you are thinking of striped bass fishing I strongly suggest you head out now. The action is fast in the Merrimack, Portsmouth and the Saco Rivers. Some 50-pound cows were taken this past week in the Cape Cod Canal chasing drop-back herring. It’s been a great year thus far.

If you plan to hunt deer in Massachusetts this year and plan to hunt for an antlerless deer, it’s time to get those permits in the mail. You only have three more weeks and the deadline will be here.

Bill Biswanger has been writing about the outdoors for over 30 years. If there is something you would like to comment on, feel free to e-mail him at bboutdoor1@aol.com.

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