State-Level Recreational Fishing Regulations and Fish Consumption Advisories in the United States: Identifying Opportunities for Improved Interagency Collaboration

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Recreational fishing is regulated in 2 broad ways: natural resource-based management of fish stocks referred to here as “catch regulations,” and public heath-based fish consumption advisories to reduce risks to humans from exposures to pollutants referred to as “consumption advisories.”


To examine the extent to which state regulatory agencies present recreational fish catch regulations and consumption advisories together and develop an ecologically based, public health argument for why these fishing regulations and advisories could be joined.


State-level catch regulations and consumption advisories were collected from 50 US states and analyzed for a variety of factors.

Main Outcome Measure:

Correlation between catch regulations and consumption advisories, by aquatic animal species and taxonomic family, and by state, were the main outcome measures.


State-level catch regulations were strongly predictive of state-level consumption advisories, by species (R2 = 0.87) or taxonomic family (R2 = 0.91). Within each state, however, fish catch regulations and consumption advisories were presented together in less than half of fishing guides.


Fish advisories and regulations are often produced by separate state regulatory agencies, indicating an opportunity for interagency collaboration to improve health communication messaging regarding recreational fishing and self-caught fish consumption.

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