Detroit Area

arrow showing fish lower and higher in contamination

 Eat Safe Fish in the Detroit Area 

  • You can eat fish from the Detroit River.

  • It is important to choose your fish carefully so that you can avoid some of the chemicals that can be found in some Michigan fish.

  • The problem is, you can't see or taste these chemicals in the fish. The only way to know if there are chemicals in the fish filets is by testing them in a lab.

  • MDCH tests filets of fish taken from Michigan's lakes and rivers, including the Detroit River, to learn which fish are safer to eat.


Image of New Eat Safe Fish Guide

Don't forget to check the Eat Safe Fish Guide before you head out. It lists the fish species that have been tested and how much is safe to eat. The Detroit River, River Rouge, River Raisin, Lake Erie, and Lake St Clair are included in this booklet. (Learn how the Michigan Fish Advisory is made.)

You can also use the local Eat Safe Fish in the Detroit Area brochure and the Eat Safe Fish Guidelines for the Detroit Area flyer to quickly find fish to eat that are lower in chemicals. The flyer lists the information from the Eat Safe Fish Guide for the Detroit River. You can also learn about the 3Cs (Choose, Clean, Cook), which is the only way to remove some of the chemicals that are found in some Michigan fish.

To learn about the chemicals and other frequently asked questions in the Detroit area, please check out the Detroit River FAQs.

This sign has been posted in shorefishing locations along the Detroit River to give anglers advice on which fish to eat and which to throw back. If you fish in an area along the Detroit River that could use a sign or if you notice one has gone missing, please let us know. You can call MDCH toll free at 1-800-648-6942. Thank you!


Detroit River: Area of Concern (AOC)


In the 1980s, the United States and Canadian governments identified 43 places in the Great Lakes region that had severe, long-term environmental problems. These places are called Areas of Concern (or AOCs). People in federal, state, and provincial government environmental remediation programs are working to address the problems in these areas. Funding and expert guidance are provided to AOCs to help local groups, known as Public Advisory Councils (PACs), work on these environmental problems, as well.

The Detroit River is one of the fourteen AOCs located in Michigan. A lot of people are working to clean up the Detroit River and get rid of the problems (called Beneficial Use Impairments or BUIs). Over the years, several BUIs have been removed from Michigan's AOCs as citizens, industries, and government joined together to improve our state's environmental health. In fact, after decades of hard work, some Michigan AOCs only have one or two BUIs remaining and are getting closer to being delisted.

For more information about Areas of Concern and the Beneficial Use Impairments, 

To learn even more about the Area of Concern and things you can do to help the Detroit River, please visit:


Read the Case Studies of community-based fish consumption advisories at three Michigan Great Lakes Areas of Concern.


 fishing boys

To learn about choosing and eating safe fish from other areas of the state,

please visit