People who eat fish caught in San Francisco Bay are exposed to toxic substances because polluters regularly contaminate the Bay with dangerous substances like mercury, dioxins, and PCBs.
The Bay Area is home to native tribes whose members follow traditional fishing practices and people who regularly fish in the Bay to feed themselves and their families. Despite the risks to these communities, regulatory agencies have never set standards for toxic substances in the Bay with the goal of protecting people who eat the most Bay fish.
Now, as a result of Baykeeper’s advocacy, that will change. Our science and policy team provided expert testimony to the local water agency about the need to recognize and prioritize the safety of tribal members and families who eat the most fish caught in the Bay. The agency agreed to our requests.
This decision is an important step forward. Baykeeper will continue our advocacy to ensure that these communities are formally recognized and that this change results in new policies to make the Bay safer.
For example, when the agency considers limits on the levels of toxic substances that industrial facilities are allowed to discharge into the Bay in their wastewater, Baykeeper will now have one more point of leverage to advocate for lower limits that protect fishing communities.
And Baykeeper will continue working to hold polluters accountable, toward the goal of reducing toxic exposure for the Bay and people who eat fish from the Bay.
Photo by Lance Shields, Flickr/CC