Community Involvement in Toxic Crab Outreach: A Case Study in the Issuance of Fish Consumption Advisories


Kerry Kirk Pflugh, Manager, Office of Outreach and Education, Division of Watershed Management,

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

401 East State Street

PO Box 418

Trenton, NJ 08625


On May 24, 2002 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued a warning to crabbers in the Newark Bay Complex that a risk assessment of crab tissue taken from Blue Claw Crabs in the Newark Bay Complex resulted in the highest environmental health risk ever calculated by the NJDEP.  Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, in addition to reminding citizens about the ban from taking crabs from the Newark Bay Complex, immediately made available grant monies to local environmental and community-based organizations to assist the Department in informing the public of the dangers of eating Blue Claw Crabs from the Newark Bay Complex.  This paper will: describe the results of the survey research that went into the development of the risk assessment; provide a description of the risk assessment; discuss the outreach efforts conducted by the Department to notify citizens of the health dangers from eating crabs; provide a description of and status report on each of the five projects that were funded by the Department, and share the results of a follow-up field survey of crabbers conducted last summer.  The presentation will conclude with plans for future activities to notify the public and a description of education materials and tools available to the public to learn about the dangers of eating Blue Claw Crabs.


Format preference: Oral presentation