With our 2022 Creel Survey now underway, we wanted to share our most recent survey analysis. This analysis was done using combined data from our 2020 & 2021 creel surveys, specifically of anglers who eat fish from the Coosa. To quantify this subgroup, that’s about 290 anglers, or 60.8% of the total cohort of anglers interviewed over the past two creel surveys. This analysis discusses the frequency that anglers are fishing and eating from the Coosa, cooking habits when eating fish from the Coosa, demographics, and knowledge of pollutants and advisories.
“The purpose of this analysis was to discern whether or not survey participants who eat fish from the Coosa are adequately informed about fish consumption advisories enough to protect their health and their families.”
The majority of anglers (87%) have been fishing and eating from the Coosa for over 5 years. Despite this, only 60% of anglers were previously aware of fish consumption advisories before encountering these surveys. When asked further about if they know what advice those advisories say, only about a third stated they felt they had sufficient knowledge of what those advisories said. This means that roughly 3 quarters of anglers do not feel confident in what fish advisories specifically say. While it is encouraging that over half of the anglers have heard of fish consumption advisories, there is a difference between being aware of the advisories, and understanding them. When it comes to the public health of the communities that fish and eat from the Coosa, our state must do a better job communicating fish consumption advisories. The creel Survey allows us to discern the best way to do this. It allows us to know who we should be communicating with and gives us insight into how we should communicate with them.
Coosa Riverkeeper is committed to the health and safety of those living, recreating, or consuming on the Coosa. We value time spent on the water, especially with a fishing rod in hand. Our organization is working hard to bring Free Fishing Clinics to the River, so that young anglers of all backgrounds feel as comfortable on the water as many of you do. Keep an eye out for our Free Fishing Clinics in 2023. During our clinics we will work with kids in an experiential learning style with casting lessons, discussions on responsible recreation on the river, and explain how to reduce exposure to potentially harmful contaminants through live cooking demonstrations. To build on reaching river users no matter their background, we are continuing to work on translation materials for advisories, recipe and cleaning cards to reduce exposure, signage projects, and much more!
To read more on fishing and cooking habits, demographics, and knowledge of pollutants and advisories click here for the full survey analysis.