Stillaguamish Chairman Shawn Yanity recently wrote a column in the The Everett Herald on the importance of raising Washington’s fish consumption rate:
It’s a lot easier and less expensive to prevent toxins such as flame retardants, pesticides and mercury from getting into our waters than it is to try and clean them up after the fact. That’s the idea behind the state of Washington’s plan to update fish consumption rates.
Fish consumption rates are used as a regulatory tool to ensure our fish and shellfish are safe to eat. This rate is supposed to be an estimate of the amount of fish and shellfish people eat. The rate is used to set standards for water quality and cleanup of contaminated sites. Health officials say that fish and shellfish are important parts of a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish or shellfish twice per week.
However, Washington is one of nine states with the lowest fish consumption rate in the country, even though our residents are among the biggest consumers of fish. The current fish consumption rate of about 8 ounces per month was developed decades ago, is no longer accurate and does not adequately protect public health. That is why the state is considering increasing the rate to be more reflective of just how much fish and shellfish we all are eating. The new consumption standard will help reduce levels of more than 100 pollutants that can hurt human health.