After mercury has settled to the bottom of the body of water that it has contaminated, it may react with bacteria found in the water and become methyl mercury. This methyl mercury is then able to be absorbed into the fish through their gills or what they eat. Once a fish is contaminated, that’s that. Even cooking it will not help.
A certain amount of mercury in fish is normal, but when pollution is involved, that normal level can get too high and become dangerous for someone who may unknowingly eat such a fish. The FDA regulates the amount of methyl mercury that is allowable in the fish that we buy. Any fish with a reading of methyl mercury exceeding 1 part per million isn’t allowed into the US.
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