Environmental contaminants

Environmental Contaminants

Burbot (Loche)

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What do we know about burbot?

Burbot are widespread in the mainland waters of the Northwest Territories. They have a whisker under the chin and a wide range of coloring including yellow, green, brown and black. Burbot is also known as loche, cod and mariah in the Northwest Territories.

Burbot, like most other fish species, often contain some mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal contaminant that can build up in the organs and in the meat.

Burbot eat other fish and are high in the food chain. Fish that eat other fish tend to have higher levels of mercury due to a process called biomagnification. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe to eat.

Burbot is good for us!

Burbot is an excellent source of protein. Protein is needed to build and repair all parts of the body.

Burbot liver is an excellent source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A keeps the skin, bones and eyes healthy.

For more nutritional information on fish, see the GNWT Health and Social Services Nutritional Food Fact Sheets Series.

Is burbot safe to eat?

Yes! Burbot is safe to eat. It is also one of the healthiest foods available. The benefits of consuming burbot are much greater than the risks of contaminant exposure.

Fish consumption notices have been issued in the past for burbot.

Check the GNWT Health and Social Services website for current consumption notices:

By following consumption advice, you can safely enjoy all traditional foods.

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