In 2020, the Alabama Department of Public Health issued Fish Consumption Advisories for nearly every river in Alabama.
According to the 2020 report, the state tested fish at 522 locations. 144 of those locations (across 98 different waterbodies in the state) were deemed dangerous and included an advisory on the consumption of fish on those rivers and streams. In total, there are 213 health advisories across the state. More than half (62%) of the advisories are for largemouth bass — the most sought after game fish in Alabama and, ironically, the official State Freshwater Fish of Alabama.
More than half of the advisories are for largemouth bass — the most sought after game fish in Alabama and, ironically, the official State Freshwater Fish of Alabama.
Gaining access to this information is difficult, with the advisories buried on Department of Public Health website and on ADEM’s e-file pages. Fisherman without access to the internet have no other options to access the important information for the health of themselves and their families. Alabama’s state motto is “We Dare To Defend Our Rights”, yet currently, our fishermen and their families don’t have a right to know where fish consumption advisories are in their local waterways.
We hope to change that.
The Alabama Rivers Alliance has worked with Coosa Riverkeeper to support their popular FISH GUIDE program. FISH GUIDE provides crucial information for fishermen throughout the state about the advisories and their impact, and also provides alternatives for cleaning and preparing the fish from our rivers. Coosa Riverkeeper has also created an easy to access hotline for fisherman to check the advisories in their area. Simply call 1-844-219-RISK (7475) and listen for the prompts of the number of the watershed you wish to fish:
Reduce your exposure to dangerous toxins by properly preparing your fish for dinner!
Watch Fisherman’s Right to Know from the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program: