Hudson River Fish Advisory Education Project Underway
Signs Ready For Posting: River Rangers Wanted
Albany, April 30, 1999 - The New York State Health Department today unveiled two initiatives in its effort to raise public awareness of the department's advisories for eating sportfish from the Hudson River. This effort includes two new fish advisory signs for posting along the Hudson River and recruiting up to 12 Hudson River Rangers this summer as part of its public outreach/education project focusing on the state's health advisories related to the Hudson River.
"Educating the public about the health risks associated with eating fish from the Hudson River is an important component of our environmental health program," Acting State Health Commissioner Dennis P. Whalen said. "Increasing public awareness of the health advisories has been an on–going Health Department effort since the health advisories were first released in 1971."
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, John P. Cahill, said, "We are making unprecedented investments in restoring the Hudson River and making it accessible for New Yorkers to enjoy. Part of that comprehensive effort is educating anglers, boaters, bikers and others on how to maximize their safe enjoyment of this great resource."
The second component of the public outreach/education effort includes recruiting up to 12 seasonal employees to begin work as Hudson River Rangers next month. The rangers will help to increase angler awareness of the health advisories for eating Hudson River fish by visiting fishing sites to speak with anglers about the advisories. Additionally, the rangers will gather information from anglers about fishing practices, sites, the effectiveness of the fish advisory signs and other outreach efforts. The rangers' role will be to educate and gather information. The Health Department is accepting applications for the Ranger positions.
The purpose of the sign posting and the ranger program is to reach as many anglers as possible to alert them to the health advisories, which are updated and issued every year. In the current advisory, from Hudson Falls south to the federal dam at Troy, there is catch–and–release fishing only. From the dam south to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Catskill, the Health Department advises eating no fish except American shad. From the bridge south to Manhattan, fish consumption is limited to one meal a week or one meal a month, depending on the species and body of water. In general, women of childbearing age and children under 15 should eat no fish from the Hudson River.
The yellow, black and red signs are aluminum and measure 12 x 14 inches. Marina operators, county health departments, community organizations and volunteers are helping with the posting effort which began today. As many as 1,200 signs will be produced in Spanish and English and posted at fishing access sites along the river. In addition a radio public service announcement targeting minority populations will air this summer in the Hudson Valley Region.
Two different signs were developed with community input, each emphasizing the need for anglers to be aware of the health advisories associated with eating sportfish. One sign depicts a pregnant woman and child and carries the warning that "Fish and crabs from these waters contain chemicals and may be harmful to eat, especially for women and children" and will be posted along the upper Hudson River from the federal dam at Troy south to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Catskill. A second sign depicting a sportfish warns anglers that "Some fish and crabs from these waters may be harmful to eat" and will be posted along the lower Hudson River, from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Catskill south to Manhattan.
This project is being conducted with the help of a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. If you are interested in obtaining more information about the Hudson River Ranger positions or the fish advisory signs please call the Health Department's Environmental Health Information toll–free number at 1–800–458–1158 .