Subsistence Fishing on the Anacostia River

Anacostia Watershed Society and a team of local, state, and federal organizations, and agencies have commissioned a study of fishing on the Anacostia River to find out

angling report cover

  • The extent of consumption and sharing of fish from the river
  • Awareness and attitudes among anglers about the potential risks to their health
  • The most effective strategies for lessening the consumption of contaminated fish

The study was conducted by OpinionWorks, an independent social research firm. A report on the study, Addressing the Risk, is released to the public on November 8, 2012. The study found that at least 17,000 people are eating fish from the Anacostia River each year, particularly via sharing of the fish with anglers' families and neighbors. While fish can be a very nutritious food, people consuming Anacostia River fish are potentially exposed to contaminants that can cause significant long-term health impacts. The study also found that existing fish consumption advisories are not adequately penetrating at-risk populations.

Download the report and launch press release here:

 Addressing the Risk: Understanding and Changing Anglers' Attitudes about the Dangers of Consuming Anacostia River Fish (PDF)

 Press Release: Study of Anacostia Anglers Indicates Widespread Sharing of Contaminated Fish (PDF)

The report is only the beginning of this project. Anacostia Watershed Society's goal -- and the goal of many project partners -- is to return the Anacostia River to a fishable and swimmable state by 2032 -- so that anyone can enjoy time on the river fishing, and safely eat their catch. Following the launch of the report, AWS will convene a community meeting to discuss the next steps. Updates to this outreach and restoration effort will be posted at this site.

For more information about where to go on the river now to fish (and practice catch and release), please visit our recreational fishing page.

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