Hilton Head Island -- Local fishermen and restaurateurs doubt a state warning to limit consumption of cobia will have much impact on the desire to catch and eat the popular saltwater fish.
Citing concerns about mercury contamination, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control officials on May 9 advised people not to eat more than one meal per month of cobia, which some consider to be one of the tastiest fish caught in South Carolina.
State officials added cobia to the list of species with warnings after collecting samples from fishing tournaments during the past few years, DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick said.
Bryan Bobinchuck, chef and part-owner of Catch 22 restaurant on Hilton Head Island, said the warning hasn't deterred anglers or customers.
Bobinchuck, who frequently fishes local waters, said anglers are still pursuing cobia as usual. Customers have been ordering it as usual, too, he said. The warning, it seems, "has not scared anybody off," he said.
The warning added cobia to a list of four other fish that carry advisories because of mercury pollution: shark, swordfish, larger king mackerel, and tilefish.