Balancing risks in the management of contaminated first nations fisheries

Author Name: 
Wiseman, C. L., Gobas, F. A.
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Private File Attachment: 
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Government of Canada closed and/or issued advisories for a number of shellfish fisheries in coastal areas of British Columbia because of dioxin contamination. Only the direct health risks (i.e., cancer) of consuming contaminated shellfish for the general population were considered by the Government in the formulation of risk management options. To assess the countervailing risks of management decisions for comparison, a scenario was developed in which First Nations peoples substitute shellfish with store-bought foods in their diets in the event of a fishery closure or advisory. Increases in mortality due to coronary heart disease are estimated. The results suggest that the health risks of dietary changes among aboriginal peoples may be as significant as those related to eating dioxin contaminated shellfish. (from abstract)