Rory O’Rourke writes in Kingston Community News:
Many scientific and public health experts, including the state Department of Health and the EPA, agree that Washington’s current fish consumption rate is inadequate for protecting public health. The current fish consumption rate used by DOE for water quality standards is 6.5 grams per day. EPA recommends using a rate of 17.5 grams per day for the general U.S. population. Since Washington is a coastal state with a legacy of high seafood consumption, as well as a region with subsistence tribal fishers, having a fish consumption rate lower than the U.S. general population is seriously flawed.
The EPA recommends a rate of 170 grams per day to protect subsistence fishers. In 2011, Oregon updated its water-quality criterion with a fish consumption rate of 175 grams per day. However, even these numbers might not be protective of the average tribal consumer in Washington. A Suquamish consumption study determined that the average Suquamish tribal member consumes about 214 grams per day. The highest consumers had rates as high as 796 grams per day.
Therefore, revising the fish consumption rate is not an effort to limit the profit of businesses, raise taxes, or increase government regulation. It is an effort to better protect the public, including the Native American community and other high fish-consuming populations. It is also a way to safeguard aquatic natural resources for all current and future Washington residents.