Which fish are safe to catch and eat from the Cape Fear River?

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, (WWAY) — The Cape Fear River Watch has some advice for people going fishing in the Cape Fear River – “Stop, check and enjoy.”

That’s also the name of a project the group has been working on. They shared this project at their Fish Smart Celebration Sunday afternoon at Northern Regional Park.

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The Cape Fear River watch spent around two years working on the project with a number of local and state-wide organizations.

Madi Polera, who works with The Cape Fear River Watch, says the project studied fish caught in the Cape Fear River to help teach the community how to catch and cook fish safely.

Polera says they came up with the acronym “SAFE” to teach people which fish are safe to catch, and how to cook them.



“Smaller, younger fish are generally going to have less mercury in them,” Polera said. “You want to avoid those top predators or bottom feeders. you want to filet or remove the fat from the fish as much as possible. and enjoy your fish baked, broiled or grilled.”

At the celebration, Chef Dean Neff held a demonstration on healthy ways to cook fish at home.

Polera says fish like shrimp and trout are typically safer to catch here in the Cape Fear River. She says people should stay away from large mouth bass or catfish out of the river.