CEC Engages Fishing Community at Striper Fest and other Wilmington Outreach Events

Duke Superfund Center’s CEC seeks to increase understanding, inform decision-making, and ultimately change behavior related to exposure to contaminants in fish, particular mercury and PCBs, among subsistence fish consumers in the Northeast Cape Fear River, with a special emphasis on reducing early life or developmental exposures for children and pregnant women. This is the second of three posts on the CEC’s fish consumption project. Stay tuned to learn more about how how work is progressing. 

By Catherine Kastleman

The CEC joined several community health educators at the Cape Fear River Watch’s annual StriperFest Education Day as part of the “Stop, Check, Enjoy” campaign. The event was funded by the CEC and also supported by an EPA Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving grant.

StriperFest was held Saturday, March 30, 2019. The event raises awareness about fishery restoration, particularly for striped bass, through fun activities for families.

At the booth, community health educators trained by the CEC shared calendars containing recipes for fish to catch and eat from the river that have lower levels of mercury. The educators also shared magnets with a description of how to fillet common fish, stickers with the “Stop, Check, Enjoy” logo for kids, and more. They spoke with fishermen about the importance of checking fish advisories as well as making sure that pregnant women and kids avoid eating fish like catfish and largemouth bass that tend to be quite high in mercury.

Community Health Educator Alex discusses the public health campaign with community members

There will be several more outreach events in the area before the end of the grant period, culminating in a community-wide celebration for people who eat fish from the Cape Fear River, on Sunday, May 26, at Northern Regional Park in Castle Hayne. The events will feature a demonstration of filleting and baking a lower-mercury fish option by local chef Dean Neff of Pinpoint restaurant, a food truck with meals from chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant, as well as games and activities for kids, vendors, and more.

The event is also an opportunity for the grant partners to share results of the subsistence fish consumers household survey with the community where the survey was conducted, and receive feedback on future efforts to conduct research. The CEC will be talking with subsistence fish consumers at the event to try to gather additional information on general locations for fishing and species preferences in order to pursue potential future sample collection at commonly-fished areas, using frequently-caught species.