Celebrating Cape Fear River Fish Consumption Month Successes

March 2022 was Cape Fear River Fish Consumption Month and the Duke Superfund Research Center’s Community Engagement Core cannot thank all of our wonderful community partners enough for all the work that went into making it so impactful and fun! BIG thanks to Cape Fear River Watch, N.C. Coastal Federation, New Hanover and Brunswick County Cooperative Extension Offices, New Hanover County NAACP, Feast Down East, Chef Dean Neff, Victoria Velazco, Mozhgon Rajaee, Abbey Joyce, and so many other Stop, Check, and Enjoy coalition members!

Go Fish Fest! Eating Safer from the Cape Fear River

Go Fish Fest! was held on March 27 at the New Hanover County Arboretum. There attendees learned how to make safer choices when eating fish from the Cape Fear and enjoyed a family-friendly day of music, games, speakers, good food, cooking demonstrations, and more! Over 300 people stopped by to learn more about the Stop, Check, Enjoy! campaign, and took home materials including a recipe calendar and wallet card that contain valuable information about catching and eating fish from the Cape Fear. The event was covered by local TV and radio stations. The event photos below taken by Alan Cradick.

Webinars to share fish tissue testing results

In 2019 and 2020, the Community Engagement Core oversaw sampling and testing of fish commonly caught from the Cape Fear River. The results were made public in the Fall of 2021 and were shared with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which issued new fish consumption advisories based on this new data. In March these results were shared on two separate webinars: on March 5 as part of Cape Fear River Watch’s ‘First Saturday’ seminar series, and then on March 23 on a webinar hosted by N.C. Coastal Federation. See a recording of the March 5 seminar below.

NC Rice Festival

The North Carolina Rice Festival was held in Leland, NC on March 5, 2022. The festival aimed to explore the cultural connections between the area and Rice Coast of Africa, and to highlight the regions status as the northernmost portion of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

The Duke CEC attended the festival and tabled to hand out Stop, Check, Enjoy! materials and discuss safe fishing consumption practices with attendees. CEC Director Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza and staff member Sam Cohen were joined by local partners and EJ champions Veronica Carter and Deborah Dicks Maxwell.

Media Coverage

Local Wilmington, NC media published multiple stories on Fish Consumption Month and Go Fish Fest!

March 11 – StarNews, Is fish safe to catch, consume from the Cape Fear River?

March 15 – WWAY, Go Fish! Eating safer from the Cape Fear River event

March 22 – WHQR, Duke University study shows fish in the Lower Cape Fear River are more contaminated than we thought — and people are eating those fish

March 24 – WWAY, NC Coastal Federation warning about health risks of consuming fish caught in the Cape Fear River

March 27 – WWAY, Go Fish event offers tips on fish safe to eat from the Cape Fear River

March 28 – WRAL, Stop, check before you enjoy fish consumption month