Anglers' appraisals of the risks of eating sport-caught fish from industrial areas: lessons from Chicago's Calumet region
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Human Ecology Review. 15(1): 46-62.
We conducted a participant observation study of recreational fishing in the industrialized Calumet region of northwest Indiana and southeast Chicago to gage the extent of fishing for consumption and to learn about perceptions of the risks of eating contaminated fish. Of the 97 study participants who provided definitive information about their fish consumption habits, 70% reported ever eating fish from Calumet waters. When assessing pollution, anglers relied mainly on their senses, personal experiences, judgment, and/or information from friends, family, and other anglers rather than on written fishing guides, local officials, or the media. When considering consumption risks, they focused on four primary factors: the general environment, water quality, fish characteristics, and observable human health. Different anglers used different risk assessment cues. There were also differences in risk perceptions and fish consumption patterns across racial-ethnic lines. Finally, we consider the challenges of disseminating risk information to diverse urban populations.
Keywordsurban angling/fishing; fish consumption; risk perception; ethnography; rustbelt landscapes
Westphal, Lynne M.; Longoni, Mario; LeBlanc, Cherie L.; Wali, Alaka. 2008. Anglers' appraisals of the risks of eating sport-caught fish from industrial areas: lessons from Chicago's Calumet region. Human Ecology Review. 15(1): 46-62.