When discussing the benefits of fish consumption, we typically focus on the health benefits such as Omega‐3 fatty acids and their implications for heart health. However, nonhealth related benefits of fish consumption are important to consider. With Washington State's broad coastline, fish consumption is abundant and plays an integral role in the traditions of the Native Americans in the state. Fish and shellfish are an important part of the daily diet. There is also spiritual significance with traditions that include the “First Salmon Ceremony,” where the first salmon of the year is honored to ensure that its spirit is released and to promote the return of the salmon the following year. With the increasing threat of bioaccumulative chemicals in aquatic environments, the decision that many have to make between their health and cultural traditions is becoming increasingly difficult. Contaminated site cleanup levels in Washington State can be based on the fish consumption of the general population. These levels depend on the environmental media (e.g., water or sediment). In the case of Native Americans, the suggested consumption rates are much lower than amounts they typically consume.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
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Stiles J, Sofield RM. 2013. Fish and Shellfish Consumption: Traditions, Regulations, and a Cleaner Environment in the US Pacific Northwest. Learned Discourse: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. 9(3):539-540.