Water quality standards are supposed to protect people who need that protection the most: Children, women of childbearing age, Indians, Asian and Pacific Islanders, sport fishermen and anyone who eats local fish and shellfish.

When the most vulnerable among us is protected, so is everyone else.

Water quality standards are built using various tools, like the fish consumption rate and the cancer risk rate. It is important that these tools be accurate and protective, so everyone can eat clean seafood.

Fish Consumption Rate

A big piece of how we develop water quality standards is the fish consumption rate. This is a calculation of how much fish and shellfish people in Washington eat and how to best protect everyone.

In a way, the fish consumption rate is like an umbrella. It shouldn’t be an average of how much fish everyone eats, but large enough to protect everyone.

Here is a more in-depth explanation of our fish consumption rate.

Here is a video explaining what the fish consumption rate actually looks like.

What is your fish consumption rate? Use this tool to figure out how much fish you eat calculates into a fish consumption rate.



More about the Cancer Risk Rate and Water Quality:


The current cancer risk rate provides a one in one million chance of getting cancer from consuming fish and shellfish containing toxics from state waters. Earlier proposals from the state would lower that protection to one in 100,000.

“This is a political decision, not one based on sound science,” said Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and fisheries manager for the Swinomish Tribe of the now scrapped proposal. “While a toxics control effort is needed, it is not an effective replacement for strong water quality rules and standards. We cannot continue with a pollution-based economy.”