Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were investigated in eleven edible fish species (5 herbivorous and 6 carnivorous) collected from the River Chenab, Pakistan, during 2007–2009. Total OCP and PCB concentrations (ng g− 1 wet weight, ww) ranged between 13–107 (mean: 38) and 3.1–93.7 (mean: 20) for five herbivorous fish species and 21.6–365 (mean: 148) and 2.5–108 (mean: 30) for six carnivorous species, respectively. The trends of detected organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in fish samples were: DDTs > PCBs > chlordanes > HCHs. The mean concentration(s) (ng g− 1 ww) of OCPs were relatively higher in all fish species collected near industrial areas followed by urban and agricultural areas. Risk assessment of OCPs and PCBs indicated that fish intake may pose health risk to humans with a consumption rate of > 8 g/person/day. The hazardous ratios for the 50th and 95th percentile data of OCPs and PCBs in fish exceeded the value of 1, suggesting that the daily exposure to OCPs and PCBs yield a lifetime cancer risk greater than 1 in 10,000.