THE BAY CITY TIMES, JUNE 24, 2006
People are eating fish they shouldn’t in the Saginaw Bay watershed, the Michigan Department of Community Health says.
The agency on Monday released preliminary findings from a fish consumption survey of people fishing and eating fish from the Saginaw Bay and Saginaw, Tittabawassee and Shiawassee rivers.
From March 2005 through March 2006, 1,088 people who were fishing in the watershed were asked to complete a survey about their fish consumption habits.
The Bay City-based Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network provided funding for the study.
Survey results suggest there is a general awareness of the existence of a state fish consumption advisory on what fish are safe to eat due to environmental contamination. But many people are not using the advisory to the fullest extent, officials say.
The study found that many people are eating fish from the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers that the state advises against eating.
Many people also reported eating catfish from the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, which flow into Saginaw Bay. These fish contain dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls at levels that could cause harmful health effects if eaten too often, the state says.
The Department of Community Health and the First Ward Community Center in Saginaw plan to work this summer to better inform the urban minority fishing community about choosing safe sport-caught catfish and other species to eat from the watershed. The work is funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant.
The advisory can be found online at www.michigan.gov/