Comprehension of Fish Consumption Guidelines Among Older Male Anglers in Wisconsin
Although awareness of Wisconsin’s fish consumption guidelines is high among older male anglers, little is known about comprehension of guideline content, and many anglers have levels of contaminants high enough to be associated with adverse health outcomes. The Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative supported evaluation and revision of Wisconsin’s fish consumption guideline program, using a web based survey of male Wisconsin anglers over the age of 50. A total of 3740 men completed the online survey; the median age of respondents was 62 years, and nearly all had lived and fished in Wisconsin for over 10 years. Comprehension of guideline content was relatively high, although two knowledge gaps were identified, one relating to mercury exposures and fish preparation, and the other to polychlorinated biphenyl content of certain fish species. The fishing regulations booklet distributed with annual fishing licenses and warning signs posted at fishing locations were commonly reported sources of guideline information in Wisconsin. Residents of coastal counties and consumers of Great Lakes fish were more likely to report guideline knowledge and behavior changes reflective of guideline knowledge, when compared to inland residents and those not consuming Great Lakes fish, respectively. In general, Wisconsin’s consumption guidelines do not appear to discourage men from eating the fish they catch; rather, the most common behavioral changes included modifying the species eaten or the water body source of their meals. Continued efforts to educate anglers about the risks and benefits of fish consumption are needed.
KeywordsFish Advisory Anglers Comprehension
The authors would like to thank the University of Wisconsin-Madison Survey Center for their work with setting up and managing the online survey, as well as all the survey participants.
The Research described in this article has been funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes National Program Office under Assistance no. GL-00E00452-0. It has not been subjected to the Agency’s required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.
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