Fish consumption from urban waterways is an environmental justice issue

Broderick Park, Buffalo, N.Y.—In the media and pop-culture, fishing is depicted as a recreational opportunity for relaxation, excitement, and meditation. How does this compare to those who must fish in visibly dirty waters for their next meal? Many anglers are immigrants and refugees who must navigate language barriers, racist institutions, and prejudice while maintaining domestic responsibilities for their families. I chose this topic to give greater representation to those who “must” fish for subsistence, rather than enjoyment.

The Niagara River is a very popular fishing destination for anglers. However, legacy pollution from past industries has contaminated waterways and aquatic life. With every fish caught, anglers and fish-consumers are at risk for poisoning. DDT, PCBs, heavy metals, and other toxins accumulate in the fish through biomagnification. This video describes the protective measures that you can take while fishing and provides some representation to those who greatly depend on fishing as their main source of food.

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