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Published on November 4th, 2013 | by growwny

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Catch of the Day campaign reached over 1,000 local anglers & Riverkeeper’s Environmental Justice program made national headlines

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BY BUFFALO NIAGARA RIVERKEEPER

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper® and Grow 716 piloted a mobile messaging campaign this past fishing season called “Catch Of the Day.” Staff and volunteers visited local fishing hot spots and spoke with anglers about ways to reduce their risk of exposure to toxic contaminants when consuming locally caught fish. The campaign was launched at Family Fishing Day at Broderick Park on June 29th and continued through September reaching approximately 1,000 people who fish along the banks of WNY’s waterways. Anglers were encouraged to text COD to 877-877, which then directed them to online information about local fish consumption advisories and healthier ways to eat local fish. Additionally the campaign encouraged picture sharing of “catches” on the GROW 716 webpage.

The campaign is one facet of Riverkeeper’s robust Environmental Justice program that captured national headlines over the summer including the Wall Street Journal, “Campaign teaches NY immigrants about polluted fish.” This program has identified and applied a solution to an issue that many communities around the Great Lakes need to address; there are many low-literacy anglers that do not have access to information about fish consumption advisories.  Lake Erie and the Niagara River provide an abundant source of fish, however one that comes as a mixed blessing for those fishing for their family’s next meal. While our region is on the road to transforming from a rust belt city to a healthier blue economy, some contaminants from industrialization of our waterways still linger within our water-based food web.

WNY’s immigrant population, many of whom are culturally connected to subsistence fishing, has grown significantly over the past decade on the west side of Buffalo. The program seeks to educate low-literacy and at risk populations, including immigrants, particularly women and children about healthier ways to consume locally caught fish. Materials created for the program have been translated into five different languages to make fish consumption information accessible for those whose first language is not English.

In addition to working with these groups at fishing hot spots, Riverkeeper partnered with Journey’s End Refugee Services to do educational tours that connected underserved populations to their local waterways. This included kayaking and walking tours at Broderick Park and Squaw Island.

For more information about Riverkeeper’s Environmental Justice Fish Consumption program visit: eatfishwny.org. If you would like copies of outreach materials contact Ba Zan Lin at blin@bnriverkeeper.org

Funding for Riverkeeper’s Environmental Justice program has been provided through the United States Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Justice Program, and the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo. Grow 716 mobile messaging campaign is funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo and the John S and James L. Knight Foundation.

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