Characterizing Latino Anglers’ Environmental Risk Perceptions, Sport Fish Consumption, and Advisory Awareness

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Sport fish advisories for the Great Lakes states suggest limiting consumption offish taken from the lakes and their tributaries because of chemical contamination. It appears, however, that minority anglers are less aware of the advisories and also consume greater amounts of sport fish than white anglers. We conducted focus groups in western New York with Latino anglers and partners of anglers to explore these patterns. Analysis revealed that older anglers believed local waters were of good quality and that it was safe to consume fish taken from them. They based their evaluation of both water and fish primarily on visual inspection. In contrast, younger Latinos believed that area waters were highly polluted because of dumping of waste from local industries. They fished away from urban areas in an effort to find cleaner, more swiftly moving waters. They considered consuming sport fish from urban areas highly risky, given their occasional illness experiences following meals of what they thought were polluted fish. For all Latino anglers, however, state-sponsored advisories were minimally effective because of their limited distribution and complex wording. Results point to differences in lay and scientific models of pollution and a need to bridge this gap in future risk-communication strategies.