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Develop Risk Communication Programs for Fish and Shellfish Consumption Advisories

The information provided on this website is intended for state, territory, and tribal program managers who are developing and implementing risk communication materials for fish consumption advisories (FCAs). FCAs can be used to change fish consumption behavior among target audiences. FCAs are developed based on information regarding target audience(s), types of fish that target audience members eat, and the amount of contaminated fish that is safe for members of target audiences to consume. This website updates Volume 4 of the Guidance for Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data for Use in Fish Advisories (EPA, 2000). Volumes 1-3 provide guidance for assessing health risks associated with the consumption of contaminated non-commercial fish. EPA encourages that the three volumes be used with these new webpages on risk communication for FCAs, since no single volume addresses all the topics involved in the development and implementation of FCAs.

This information does not impose legally binding requirements on EPA, states, territories, tribes, or the public, nor does it confer legal rights. It also does not constitute a regulation, nor does it change or substitute for any Clean Water Act provision or EPA regulation. Any mention of trade names, products, or services does not convey and should not be interpreted as conveying official EPA approval, endorsement, or recommendation for use.

The information contained in these webpages is based on extensive research by academics, other federal agencies, and states that has been compiled by EPA. In the interest of readability, sources are cited at the end of each section. However, there are certain cases, e.g., tables, where the sources are cited in the table.

This guidance is a living document and may be periodically revised and updated. Each revision will be dated. The date will appear in each section of the risk communication program website. Input on the content of these webpages is welcome at anytime. If you have any input, please send email to

EPA’s Nine-Step Fish Consumption Advisory Risk Communication Cycle

EPA recommends using the following nine-step risk communication cycle to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate FCA programs. Select each box in the cycle for more detailed information.

Interactive flowchart displaying information about each of the nine parts of fish consumption advisoriesEvaluation and Refining Fish Consumption Advisory As NeededAssess Program Effectiveness Through EvaluationImplement and Monitor the ProgramDevelop and Pretest Concepts, Messages, Materials and ActivitiesDevelop Outreach PlansExplore Settings, Channels, and Activities to Reach Target AudiencesIdentify Potential PartnersIdentify Target Audiences and ChannelsEstablish Program Goals and Communication Objectives