Fish from San Francisco Bay contain concentrations of mercury, PCBs, and other chemical contaminants that are above thresholds of concern for human health. This problem was first documented in 1994 when the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (SFBRWQCB) performed a pilot study to measure contaminant concentrations in Bay sport fish (Fairey et al. 1997). As a result of this pilot study the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued an interim health advisory for consumption of fish from San Francisco Bay. An updated advisory (available in graphical format) was issued in May 2011. This updated advisory provides consumption advice for consumers of Bay caught fish including advice for sensitive populations (women of childbearing age and children). Click here to view a non-technical fact sheet on the San Francisco Bay consumption advisory, and here for links to the full report.
Sport fish sampling in the RMP began in 1997 and occurred through 2009 on a triennial basis. As of 2014, sampling will occur every five years. The most recent sampling effort occurred in 2009. The most recent report on San Francisco Bay Sport fish includes information on sport fish contamination in San Francisco Bay and other areas of the California coast.
You can also find answers to the question "Is it safe to eat fish and shellfish from my local lakes or coastal areas?" by checking out the interactive map on the My Water Quality website.
This project is coordinated through an advisory group that includes staff from the California Department of Public Health, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and other interested parties. This advisory group convenes prior to each sampling effort in order to develop a sampling plan.