Huffington Post covers inadequate fish consumption rate

The Huffington Post has a story about Washington state’s fish consumption rate, which is used to set water quality standards. The state is using an outdated rate that doesn’t reflect how much seafood is eaten by residents of the Pacific Northwest, especially among treaty Indian tribes.

From the story:

For many communities, the consequences also go beyond just health concerns.

“Traditional families are still very active in the smokehouse. They are still fishing for their primary source of living,” says Jamie Donatuto, an environmental specialist for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, in La Conner, Wash. “Fish are not just a source of nutrients, they have cultural and spiritual meaning for these people.”

Donatuto has been working with the Swinomish tribe for more than a decade on the issue. She recently conducted a survey and found that if tribal members had access to as much safe seafood as they wanted, they would consume more than 100 times the state’s estimate.

“In the Pacific Northwest, fish consumption is a way of life. It’s an important cultural hallmark of tribal nations that live here,” adds Elaine Faustman, a professor of environmental and occupational health studies at the University of Washington.

In fact, as she points out, it’s not uncommon to find kids “teething on salmon jerky.”