Understanding the relationships between water quality, recreational fishing practices, and human health in Phoenix, Arizona

E. Pulford, Beth Polidoro, M. Nation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Across the United States, recreational freshwater fisheries are not only an important leisure activity, but can also provide a relatively inexpensive source of protein in local diets. However, recreational freshwater fisheries are generally not well-monitored in terms of fish consumption vs. catch and release, nor are all recreational surface waters regularly monitored for the presence of potentially harmful contaminants in water or fishes. In six urban lakes that support recreational fisheries in Phoenix, Arizona, a majority of surveyed anglers reported eating recreationally caught fishes, even though they thought the water might be polluted. Surface water samples collected from the six urban recreational fishery lakes showed varying levels of organic contaminants, including pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and phthalates. As many Phoenix urban recreational fisheries lakes and ponds are located in low income and high minority neighborhoods, the results of this pilot study could be used to inform urban fisheries management and other agencies of the potential need for fish consumption advisories, inform actions to improve water quality in urban lakes and ponds that support urban fisheries, and support further research and monitoring, in order to reduce potential risks to public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Environmental justice
  • Human health
  • Local governance
  • Recreational fishing
  • Sustainability
  • Urban water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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