New York City to put up 250 toxic-fish warning signs at fishing spots

July 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

The city will install 250 new signs warning of the dangers of eating locally caught fish, officials told the Daily News last night.

Starting today, Parks Department staff will put up the signs at fishing spots including Coney Island Pier and Valentino Pier in Red Hook. They say women of child-bearing age and children should not eat fish caught in city waters, while everyone else should limit their consumption.

The move comes after the Daily News reported some cash-strapped New Yorkers were turning to local waterways for food – and that most piers lacked signs warning fish were loaded with mercury and PCBs.

Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson said the city initially hung up signs at popular fishing spots two years ago. “We became aware a lot of them were not up anymore, and that was something that needed to be corrected,” he said. “We want to encourage public awareness.”

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum said yesterday she will introduce a bill to require warning signs on city property, along with regular testing for mercury and other dangerous chemicals. Her legislation includes a public education campaign, possibly with subway or radio ads.

Gotbaum took a swipe at Mayor Bloomberg’s comment that “common sense” dictates anglers shouldn’t eat fish from contaminated water.

“He’s out of touch with people’s needs,” she said. “People see this as a way of getting free food and they’re hungry, and we just need to protect them,” she said. “That’s common sense.”

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser shot back at Gotbaum: “There are actually still a lot of people in government who work on solutions instead of just calling people names.”

BY Gianna Palmer and Erin Durkin
DAILY NEWS

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Entry filed under: Bronx, Brooklyn, Dive In, Manhattan, Natural Waterfront, Queens, Staten Island. Tags: , , .

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