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Documented Misconceptions/misperceptions

The following are some misconceptions/misperceptions about fish consumption from a variety of sources for specific target audiences that were tested by academics and states. This list is not inclusive.

  • The water is clear; therefore, the fish is safe to eat
  • Fish from cold waters are safe
  • Advisory just issued; all fish are too contaminated to eat
  • The visual appearance of fish is an indicator of health
  • If the water is safe to drink, then the fish living in the water are safe to eat; do not grasp the concept of bioaccumulation
  • One important reason urban anglers eat their catch was because they trusted its quality, whereas purchased fish was of unknown quality
  • Unreliable criteria of appearance of fish (color, shape, form, dull eyes, taste) are used to judge which fish were safe to eat
  • If a fish lived a long time, it must be relatively healthy and healthy to eat
  • The taste of fish is related to the level of contamination in the fish
  • Retirees believing at their age they were unlikely to experience negative effects from fish contaminants
  • A chemically contaminated fish can be distinguished from an uncontaminated fish by looking at the skin of the fish
  • If everything is bad to eat, then how bad is the risk of eating contaminated fish
  • If there is not tangible damage to the fish eater (obvious physical ailments) then people do not consider the fish to be impacting their health
  • Historically, people have eaten fish from the waterbody of concern without known visible side effects, so they choose to continue eating the potentially contaminated fish
  • Difficult to understand that current actions may not have consequences for 5 or more years
  • If fish are safe enough to allow commercial fishers to catch and sell for consumption, then the fish should be safe enough for the private fisher to eat
  • The government is conspiring to take away people's rights to fish
  • Because a fish advisory is government-issued, some people perceive it as a ban on fishing or they perceive advisory as a regulation, when it is guidance only