2015 Ohio Snapping Turtle Consumption Advisory

Reasons for the Advisory

Snapping Turtle In 1997, Ohio EPA collected snapping turtles from six locations and analyzed meat (muscle), liver and fat tissues for lead, mercury, PCBs and pesticides as part of a special monitoring project. Mercury and lead were found in the meat samples taken from four water bodies, resulting in the advisories below. Meat from snapping turtles collected at one location (see below) had contaminant concentrations below advisory levels of concern.

PCBs and mercury were found at extremely high concentrations in the turtles collected from the turtle advisory locations. Avoid eating fat or liver tissue from any snapping turtle caught in Ohio, particularly from turtles caught at the turtle advisory locations.

Meal Preparation

If you decide to eat any snapping turtle caught in Ohio, we recommend the following precautions to reduce your exposure to contaminants that may be present.

  1. Lay the turtle on its back shell (carapace).
  2. Remove the shell that faces you (the plastron) by carefully cutting through the two bony ridges (on both sides of the turtle) between the fore and hind limbs.
  3. Carefully remove and discard any fat and eggs present, and all organs, such as the liver and kidneys. Save only the meat for eating.
  4. Remove claws from the fore and hind limbs.
  5. Remove skin from the neck, tail, and fore and hind limbs.
  6. Combine all meat portions you wish to save.

Ohio Snapping Turtle Meat Advisory Table

Body of Water

Area Under Advisory

Maximum Recommended Meal* Frequency

Contaminant

Ashtabula River
(Ashtabula County)

All Waters

One meal per week

Mercury

Black River
(Lorain County)

All Waters

One meal per week

Mercury

Maumee River
(Defiance, Henry, Lucas, Paulding, Wood Counties)

All Waters

One meal per week

Mercury

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
(Ottawa County)

All Waters

One meal per week

Lead

Ottawa River (Toledo)
(Lucas County)

All Waters

Do not eat

 

* Meal size = 4 ounces before cooking

Snapping Turtles With Low Levels of Meat Contamination

Meat from snapping turtles collected at the following location was found to be contaminated at low concentrations (below advisory levels). There are no restrictions on the consumption of meat from this location. Be aware, however, that high levels of contamination were found in the liver and fat tissues of the turtles at this location.

Body of Water

Area

Lake Rockwell
(Portage County)

All Waters