Superfund Research Program

May 2019

Breakout Group

Breakout groups discussed suggestions to improve the fish consumption advisory process.
(Photo courtesy of the Duke SRP Center)

On March 21, the Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center convened stakeholders from across North Carolina in Raleigh to discuss fish consumption advisories and how to improve the process to best protect public health. NC Fish Forum attendees focused on known risks like mercury, as well as emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluorinated compounds.

Participants included members of state and local environmental, public health, and wildlife management agencies, as well as sport fishermen and riverkeepers. At the start of the half-day meeting, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services officials walked through the current fish consumption advisory process. Next, the attendees shared thoughts about how the process might be improved. Suggestions included simpler messaging and more engagement with subsistence fish consumers.

Participants discussed ways to improve communication between government agencies and the public and how to create more effective fish consumption advisory signs. Following the full group discussion, attendees divided into breakout groups to delve into the identified challenges. Attendees were asked to focus on what an ideal fish consumption advisory process might look like and concrete actions that could help bring them closer to that ideal. At the end of the day, attendees reflected on goals and future challenges and discussed how to turn these conversations into meaningful action.

NC Fish Forum Whiteboard
Mike Schlegel, visual notetaker and founder of the Whiteboard Academy, helped facilitate the forum and worked throughout the day to capture a visual summary of the key points and discussions, shown here. Schlegel also has a background in watershed science, so he offered a uniquely informed perspective on the issue. (Image courtesy of the Duke SRP Center)

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