Fish from lakes with E. coli fine, so long as they are cooked

Saskatchewan's annual promotion to encourage recreational fishing takes place this weekend, just days after several lakes were noted as having elevated levels of the bacteria E. coli.
Provincial fishing licences are not needed for Saskatchewan's free fishing weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Normal conservation regulations, however, still apply. (CBC)

Saskatchewan's annual promotion to encourage recreational fishing takes place this weekend, just days after several lakes were noted as having elevated levels of the bacteria E. coli.

The advisory, issued Tuesday, said that waters of Last Mountain, Echo, Pasqua and Katepwa lakes were tested on July 3 and elevated E. coli levels were detected. Similar readings were expected from other bodies of water, including Crooked Lake and Round Lake, that were hit with flooding.

While ingesting the water could lead to issues, consuming fish from such waters is OK so long as it is properly cooked.

"Fishing shouldn't be a problem because again you're not going to be ingesting the water while you're fishing," Chris Yost, a microbiologist at the University of Regina told CBC News. "You're going to cook the fish. I mean that's a food safety issue. You would be cooking the fish anyways."

Saskatchewan's free fishing weekend allows people to fish — following normal fishing rules — without having to purchase a licence. The promotion only applies to provincial bodies of water.

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