Resources to help those enjoying North Carolina’s Free Fishing Day in the Triangle area this Fourth of July will be provided in a new initiative to help people understand health advisories about eating fish in local waterways.

Researchers from the Superfund Research Program at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, in partnership with the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Environmental Resource Program, will release the website “Eat Fish, Choose Wisely.” The site and brochure will serve as an educational platform for fishers to learn about harmful chemicals that may be in local fish.

Mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) have been found in various Triangle area lakes and streams, and fish that live long lives or eat other fish may be unsafe to eat. These include largemouth bass, catfish and carp, among others.

UNC staff interviewed local fishermen, finding that many fishermen wanted information not only about the sources of contaminants, but about other places they could fish instead. The resources were then created with a map as a central focus.

Information on all fish advisories for the Triangle area is made available in the guide, including specific information for children, women of childbearing age and tips for families to enjoy eating fish without increasing their exposure to chemicals.