The French Broad River: Are people eating the fish?

The article [“The Green Scene: Getting Off the Banks,” July 28 Xpress] could have done a better job in showing our human health linkages to the French Broad. The French Broad River is a drinking water source to over 1 million people. Not only does Western North Carolina draw water directly but so do people of eastern Tennessee. Furthermore, there may be an upper economic class who only catch and release, but the people who have little money use the river as a supplemental source of food. No one is posting or communicating to the population that is consuming [the fish], nor is the media collecting quotes from those people about their connection to the river.

— Phillip Gibson

Green Scene Reporter Susan Andrew’s response: Gibson, the former French Broad Riverkeeper, makes a good point, and although no one knows how many do it, there’s little doubt that some folks eat their catch from the French Broad. (I was interested in Manderson’s carefully qualified statement that he does — but only occasionally.)

But if it’s true that no one is communicating about the potential health effects directly to those who consume either fish or river water, then I think the central question raised in this article still stands: Are the regulatory agencies doing their job? Why can’t the agency investigate any potential source of pollution, for example, if it seems warranted?

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