May 14, 2013
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Fishermen Age 50+ Encouraged to Take Part in A Survey on Fishing and Fish Consumption

Information used to inform anglers on how to avoid environmental contaminants in fish

MADISON-Older men consume more sport-caught fish than other age groups according to studies by the Department of Health Services (DHS), and they could have higher levels of mercury or other contaminants commonly found in fish if they don't follow fish advisory information. That is why DHS, along with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is asking fishermen age 50 and over to take part in an online survey about where they fish, what fish they eat, and where they get their information on safe fish consumption.

"DHS is renewing its efforts to learn from older male anglers about the best ways to inform them about reducing their exposure to environmental contaminants in fish while they continue to include their catches in their diets," said Henry Anderson, M.D., State Health Officer. "Informed consumers can easily reduce their exposure to mercury without reducing the number of fish meals. The water body where their catch comes from, the size of their catch, and the species they catch and consume all play a role in their contaminant exposure and making better choices can reduce their risk," Anderson added.

So far, more than 2,500 fishermen have completed the brief survey. From initial responses, DHS and DNR have found that older male anglers are, in general, fairly knowledgeable when it comes to fish consumption advice. Television, radio and newspaper messages have played a significant role in spreading that message, as has the fishing regulation guide provided with fishing licenses. "There is room for improvement, though," Anderson said. "This survey gives older anglers a chance to let us know what are the best ways to inform them and assist the fish-consuming public."

With Wisconsin's abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams, and the nearby Great Lakes, anglers have ample locations to ply their sport and make a meal of their catch. DHS and DNR encourage people to take part in this popular pastime while making educated decisions on fish consumption that support a healthy lifestyle.

The survey was developed by DHS and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and will be available through 2013. To participate in this survey, male anglers age 50 or older who live in Wisconsin all or part of the year are encouraged to visit:

View to learn more about which sport-caught fish from Wisconsin waterways are safe to consume.