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Fish consumption: efficacy among fishermen of a brochure developed for pregnant women

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The risk to human consumers from contaminants in fish is often dealt with by issuing consumption advisories, or in some cases, information brochures. Normally advisories and brochures are developed and tested with anglers. We examine the efficacy of a fish consumption brochure that was developed for pregnant women on people engaged in fishing in the Newark Bay Complex. The brochures were in English and Spanish, and subjects could read and be interviewed in either language. Of the 151 people interviewed, 32% were women, 58% spoke only English, 22% spoke mainly Spanish and the rest felt comfortable with both languages. There were no differences in the percent that were present as a function of preferred language. There were significant differences in the understanding of the brochure, depending upon preferred language (and the language of the brochure). In general, anglers preferring Spanish and who read the brochure in Spanish obtained fewer of the messages correctly than those who preferred English (seven of seven questions). There were also gender differences in efficacy of the brochures; a higher percentage of female anglers thought that the fish were not safe to eat from the port and thought that eating contaminated fish from the port could harm their baby. Although the correct message was obtained by 34-100% of the anglers, depending upon the question, and 60-75% of the anglers believed the pamphlet, only 16% (Spanish-speaking) to 47% (Bilingual) planned on changing the species of fish they eat or the method of cooking. These data suggest that a pamphlet designed for pregnant women is useful for anglers, and they can obtain the 'correct' message from it. However, a relatively small percentage of subjects were persuaded to change their cooking or consumption behavior. In addition to television, subjects felt that the direct approach of distributing brochures face-to-face was an important method of communication of fish consumers.
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Keywords: communication; evaluation; fish consumption; fisherfolk; fishing; risk perception

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Life Sciences, Rutgers University, NJ, USA,Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation, and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, NJ, USA 2: Center for Environmental Communication, Cook College, Rutgers University, NJ, USA, Human Ecology, Cook College, Rutgers University, NJ, USA

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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