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Great Lakes Article:

Committee to monitor tumors on fish in Presque Isle Bay

ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- The Presque Isle Bay Public Advisory Committee hopes to have the bay removed from a list of polluted waters by tracking tumors on one type of catfish.

The International Joint Commission, a Canadian-American authority in charge of waters between the nations, designated the bay an " area of concern" in 1991 because of high tumor rates on brown bullheads and contamination in sediment in the bay.

The designation is given to areas of the Great Lakes that are environmentally degraded and fail to meet standards established by the U.S. and Canada' s Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

The bullhead is considered an indicator of the bay' s health. Studies a decade ago found skin tumors in more than 60 percent of bullheads and liver tumors in more than 20 percent.

Those levels have since declined and the advisory committee on Monday set its target levels at 20 percent for skin tumors and 5 percent for liver tumors. If the tumor rates drop below those levels, the committee will try to get the " area of concern" designation lifted.

There are 43 areas with the designation in the United States and Canada, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. If an area is tagged with the designation, state and provincial governments must establish a plan to fix the problems.

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