NEW FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY SIGNS INSTALLED ACROSS THE STATE BY WATERKEEPERS ALABAMA AND ALABAMA RIVERS ALLIANCE
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama Rivers Alliance and Waterkeepers Alabama is excited to announce they have completed a project to mount more than 45 new and more accessible fish consumption advisory signs at boat ramps managed by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) on impacted waterways across Alabama.
The signs alert anglers about nearby fish consumption advisories issued by Alabama’s state agencies. Each sign features a convenient and toll-free hotline that anglers can call to hear a recording of the 200+ fish consumption advisories for the whole state.
The Alabama Department of Public Health updates and re-releases the fish consumption advisories each year. The Alabama Rivers Alliance and Waterkeepers Alabama are working to get this information into the hands of anglers that need it the most – those fishing for dinner. Fish consumption advisories are recommendations from the state to limit or avoid eating fish at certain locations due to testing results revealing health-hazardous contamination in fish tissues. These advisories are aimed to prevent long-term illnesses that can result from eating contaminated fish, such as reproductive dysfunction, cancers, and issues with child development. The new signage will reach a wide audience of anglers by utilizing the popular public-access boat ramps that ADCNR manage.
“These advisories serve as a reminder that our waterways are polluted and potentially dangerous to our health and the health of our families,” Jack West, policy director at the Alabama Rivers Alliance, said. “We are thankful to Coosa Riverkeeper for coordinating the placement of the new signage you’ll see at the boat ramps since that is the best way we have right now to warn anglers of the potential health hazards in consuming fish from our rivers.”
Besides calling the hotline hosted by Coosa Riverkeeper that is featured on the signs, there are currently no other ways to access the advisories without a smart device and steady internet connection. As much as 1 in 4 Alabamians do not have internet access, according to the American Consumer Survey, so these signs provide anglers with a route to access this vital public health information, even if they are unable to connect to the internet. Anyone can call from anywhere at any time to hear fish consumption advisories in Alabama by dialing (844) 219-7475!
“Folks eating fish in Alabama deserve easy access to such important public health information such as the fish consumption advisories. By working with Outdoor Alabama and our partners across the state, we are now able to provide a bit easier access through the hotline.” said Victoria Miller, Fish Guide Coordinator with Coosa Riverkeeper and project organizer. “However, more can be done to protect Alabama’s anglers by the state agencies regulating the advisories, like expanding testing efforts to include more waterbodies and contaminants, and promoting the advisories more through their websites, social media, guidebooks, and other forms of official communication about the outdoors.”
The Alabama Rivers Alliance and Waterkeepers Alabama collaborated on this project with ADCNR, for permission to post at their public boat ramps. Other partner groups pitched in on their rivers to help mount them: including: Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper, Coosa Riverkeeper and Mobile Baykeeper.
ABOUT ALABAMA RIVERS ALLIANCE
The Alabama Rivers Alliance is a statewide network of groups working to protect and restore all of Alabama’s water resources through building partnerships, empowering citizens, and advocating for sound water policy and its enforcement. Those interested in finding out more about fish consumption advisories can visit AlabamaRivers.org/Project/Fish-Guide or WaterkeepersAlabama.org/Fish to see a map with the advisories for Alabama.
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Photos and additional information available upon request