The San Francisco Bay Fish Project is a two-year project to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals from eating San Francisco Bay fish. This Project is part of the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s strategies to reduce the levels of PCB and mercury in the Bay (these strategies are called Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs). The Project is intended to improve communication to the public about how to reduce their exposure to PCBs and mercury from consuming San Francisco Bay fish while the Water Board works to reduce the levels of PCBs and mercury in those fish. The Project also fulfills requirements in permits the Water Board has issued to the wastewater, stormwater, and industrial entities that discharge to the Bay. These entities are providing the funding for this Project.
While fish is an important part of a healthy diet, some fish from San Francisco Bay contain mercury and PCBs. An interim health advisory for the Bay recommends limiting the types and amounts of fish consumed as a means to limit exposure to chemicals. This advisory will be revised and updated in 2011. Under the San Francisco Bay Fish Project, CDPH will collaborate with community groups, local agencies, tribes, and others to raise public awareness about fish contamination issues in San Francisco Bay, and support community-based projects to reduce exposure to chemicals from fish consumption.
As part of the SFBFP, CDPH will:
The project is coordinated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in partnership with the Aquatic Science Center, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Primary funding for the project has been provided by the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies, the Western States Petroleum Association, the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The San Francisco Bay Fish Project: Building alliances between government agencies and community groups
The San Francisco Bay Fish Project (SFBFP) is a two-year program coordinated by the California Department of Public Health to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals from eating San Francisco Bay fish. The SFBFP is part of a larger effort by the Regional Water Quality Control Board to reduce the levels of mercury and PCBs in the Bay and in Bay fish.
Faced with the enormous task of communicating to diverse groups of fishermen and their families, CDPH instituted a Stakeholder Advisory Group and developed a grant program to work with local organizations with established ties to the community and proven records of effective outreach. The program was designed to support community-based outreach and education projects tailored to the needs of fishing populations and underserved communities.
The San Francisco Bay Fish Project was created in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, Bay Area Clean Water Agencies, Western States Petroleum Association, Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association, and the Aquatic Science Center.
San Franscisco Bay Fish Project Final Report
SF Bay Fish Project Final Report.pdf (54.17 KB)
SF Bay Fish Project Final Report - Attachments A-N.pdf (4.28 MB)
SF Bay Fish Project Final Report - Tables 1-11.pdf (963.9 KB)
Project Framework_0.pdf (18.52 KB)
SFB project summary 2-15-11.pdf (98.61 KB)
State Estuary Conference Poster
State of the Estuary Conference Poster.pdf (516.38 KB)
The overall mission of the San Francisco Bay Fish Project (SFBFP) is to reduce human exposure to mercury and PCBs from consumption of contaminated San Francisco Bay fish. The stakeholder advisory group’s (SAG’s) primary function is to review and guide the risk communication and exposure reduction activities implemented under this project. The SAG also provides a forum for SAG members to learn about fish contamination and related topics, and promote collaboration and new activities among SAG members.
Membership and Representation:
The SAG is open to all interested parties. CDPH seeks broad representation from community-based groups and local agencies, including those who work closely with fishing populations, manage fishing access locations, or are simply interested in addressing this problem.
SAG Members Contact Information
SAG Members Contact Info.xls (38 KB) password protected file
SAG Charter FINAL.doc (39.5 KB)
SF Bay Fish Project Stipend Appication
SFB Fish Project Stipend Application 2-14-11.doc (38.5 KB)
The San Francisco Bay Fish Project created a public service video as a part of the San Francisco Bay Fish Project. It was developed in collaboration with APA Family Services, California Indian Environmental Alliance, Kids for the Bay, and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.
A high quality version of this video is available upon request.
API’s San Francisco Bay Fish Outreach and Education Project
o Increase community awareness and understanding of fish contamination issues
o Reduce chemical exposure from eating SF Bay fish through outreach, research, and education
within our API population
o Community-Based Social Marketing: Identifying the barriers and benefits to continue consumption
of Bay Fish at safe level and promote the benefit from healthy nutrition available in fish.
Developing tools (message, posters, materials) so the API community will be receptive to
participating, learning and changing their behavior for long term.
o Translated, compiled and developed materials, resources, and informational incentives.
o Community and Cultural Events
o Worked with CDPH to translate the advisory brochure into 9 API languages.
o Developed several fish themed games and activities for kids.
o Arranged for training (by CDPH) and ongoing support to APA partner organizations that increased
these organization’s capacity to provide fish information in the communities they serve.
o Farmmary Saephan was interviewed for a radio story called "Fishermen harvest dinner in the Bay
at their own risk" that was aired on KALW, a San Francisco public radio station.
APA Link: http://www.apafss.org/
San Francisco Bay Mercury Tribal Health Project
The purpose of the CIEA and NAHC WIC San Francisco Bay Mercury Tribal Health Partnership project was to empower low-income families to eat fish while avoiding mercury and PCBs.
o Developed GC 30 Making Healthy Fish Curriculum
o Community Events
o All WIC staff on-duty successfully completed training
o CIEA completed waiting room surveys and field test surveys
o Making Healthy Fish Choices GC 30 Class in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese
CIEA Link: http://cieaweb.org/
San Francisco Bay Fish Environmental Health and Justice Project
o Increase awareness and understanding of the new Fish Advisory information, contamination issues and benefits associated with consuming fish from San Francisco Bay
o Reduce exposure to PCBs and mercury linked to consuming contaminated Bay fish, primarily focusing on low-income people of color living in Bayview-Hunters Point and southeast San Francisco and who are disproportionately affected by ill health problems arising from a multitude of pollution exposures including eating contaminated fish
o Hired and trained a fluent bilingual Chinese-English outreach worker
o Fisher interviews
o Community Presentations
o Conducted Outreach to Tongan Community
Surveyed Bayview-Hunters Point residents, fishers, and at-risk women and mothers who:
o Intend to modify their attitudes about potential health impacts of mercury and PCBs and benefits of Omega-3s/healthy fish on their personal health and the health of their family.
o Improved their knowledge about the Fish Advisory, mercury and PCBs in fish, health benefits of fish and safer fishing and fish consumption habits.
o Will intend to change or modify their fishing practices or consumption habits towards safer consumption-fish catching and safer preparation methods.
Greenaction Link: http://greenaction.org
Safe Bay Food Consumption Project (SBFCP)
o Teach students about the San Francisco Bay watershed and the pollutants impacting bay health and human health
o Students become environmental health educators and teach their families show to reduce intake of toxins, including mercury and PCBs, from consumption of Bay fish
o Students educate people fishing on Bay piers about pollution in the Bay and how to reduce intake of toxins from consumption of bay fish
o Teachers learn to teach the KIDS for the BAY (KftB) Safe Bay Food Consumption Curriculum and Watershed Action Program to future classes of students. The program becomes an integrated component of the grade-level school curriculum with the support of the school principal.
o Selected classes to participate in the SBFCP which, based on the population screening tool, contained at least 20% of students whose families fish from the Bay/Delta
o Updated and revised the SBFCP curriculum and program materials
o Lead workshops to train KftB staff on pollution in the Bay and the potential health effects from eating Bay fish, the new Bay fish advisory information and the SBFCP curriculum
o Conducted Watershed Action Program classroom lessons at schools to provide a framework for students’ understanding of SBFCP related issues
o Assisted students to conduct angler interviews on fishing piers on field trips to the San Francisco Bay shoreline
o Lead a demonstration Safe Bay Food Consumption presentation for each class to train students for their student-led presentations to family members
o Assisted classes during the student-led Safe Bay Fish Consumption presentations to family members
o KIDS for the BAY was featured on KPFA 94.1 FM’s “Terra Verde” radio show
Kids for the Bay Link: http://www.kidsforthebay.org
SF Bay Fish Project Request for Proposals 2011
San Francisco Bay Fish Project - Request for Proposals 2011.pdf (129.29 KB)
SF Bay Fish Project Application Cover Page
Attachment 1 - Application Cover Page.doc (55 KB)
SF Bay Fish Project Timeline
Attachment 2 - Timeline Template.xls (29 KB)
SF Bay Fish Project Project Budget Form
Attachment 3 - Project Budget Form.doc (75.5 KB)
These are the evaluation tools developed by CDPH to help the funded groups evaluate their projects.
I. Population Screening Tool
Purpose: to track the number of attendees, San Francisco Bay fish consumers, and at risk consumers
II. Outcome Evaluation Tools:
Purpose: to measure changes in knowledge, access to information, and/or intent to change behavior that has resulted from project activities. The outcome evaluation tools include:
a. Pre/Post Test
b. Retrospective Post Test (Long Version)
c. Retrospective Post Test (Short Version)
Download the PDF versions of the tools here:
Population Screening Tool:
Population Screening Tool.pdf (147.05 KB)
Pre-post test questionnaire.pdf (245.04 KB)
Retrospective Post Test (Short Version):
Retrospective post test questionnaire (Short Version).pdf (282.58 KB)
Retrospective Post Test (Long Version):
Retrospective Post-Test (Long Version).pdf (262.39 KB)
A 300dpi version of this image is available here: Sf Bay Fish Sign Shimada Park lg.jpg (60.9 KB)
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and local health departments have been posting warning signs along shores, piers, and boat launches. It’s part of a multi-faceted campaign that has brought together community organizations and local government to educate fishermen and their families about eating fish from the San Francisco Bay safely.
In May of 2011, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released an updated advisory for eating fish from the San Francisco Bay. The new guidelines allow for greater consumption of bay-caught fish-- good news for people who eat fish from the bay—but also make clear which species of fish should be avoided, some Bay fish contain chemicals, such as mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) that can harm your health. Women between the ages of 18 and 45, and children under 18 years should take special care in choosing fish from the bay that are lower in chemicals and higher in nutrients.
How much fish can one eat from the bay?
Some San Francisco Bay fish are better for you than others. Omega 3s promote brain development in infants and lower heart disease in adults. However, because SF Bay has been contaminated by mercury and PCBs, people need to choose carefully what types of fish they eat.
“Eating fish is an important part of a nutritious, balanced diet,” said Dr. Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer. “We want to remind people that all fish are not the same, and some fish contain chemicals and should not be eaten.”
The 2011 advisory states that women under 45 years of age and children may eat up to:
Two servings a week of Chinook (king) salmon, brown rockfish, jacksmelt, or red rock crab OR
One serving a week of halibut or white croaker (Kingfish)
They should not eat any shark, surfperch, striped bass, or white sturgeon
Adult males and women over 45 years may eat safely eat more fish, but should not eat any surfperch from the bay. The 2011 guidelines recommend:
7 servings a week of Chinook (king)salmon, or
5 servings a week of Brown rockfish, or
2 servings a week of striped Bass, Jacksmelt, or California halibut, or
1 serving a week of white croaker (Kingfish), shark, or white Sturgeon
“Mercury and PCB contamination in the San Francisco Bay is a long term concern,” says Dr. George Alexeeff, director of the OEHHA. “Contamination levels in the bay have not changed significantly over the past 20 years, however we’ve learned more about these levels in individual species of fish. As a result, consumers have more choices. ”
View SF Bay Fish Project Advisory Sites in a larger map
Brochure outlining the updated San Francisco Bay health
advisory for sport fish, released in 2011.
Shark cover version of the brochure:
SFBayAdvisory.Eng_Shark.Web__2.pdf (773.38 KB)
SFBayAdvisory.Camb_Shark.Web__2.pdf (1.32 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Chinese_Shark.Web__0.pdf (1.25 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Japanese_Shark.Web_.pdf (1.28 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Korean_Shark.Web_.pdf (1.57 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Lao_Shark.Web_.pdf (2.3 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Sam_Shark.Web_.pdf (1.21 MB)
SFBayAdvisorySpanish_Shark5-9-13.pdf (980.18 KB)
SFBayAdvisory.Tag_Shark.Web_.pdf (1.29 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Tongan_Shark.Web_.pdf (1.32 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Viet_Shark.Web_.pdf (1.22 MB)
Clinic version of the brochure:
SFBayAdvisory.Eng_Clinic.Web_.pdf (848.14 KB)
SFBayAdvisory.Camb_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.27 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Chinese_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.19 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Japanese_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.22 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Korean_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.51 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Lao_Clinic.Web_.pdf (2.24 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Sam_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.16 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Spanish_Clinic.5-9-13.pdf (920.69 KB)
SFBayAdvisory.Tag_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.24 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Tongan_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.27 MB)
SFBayAdvisory.Viet_Clinic.Web_.pdf (1.16 MB)
Postable kiosk Poster of the updated San Francisco Bay health advisory
for sport fish, released in 2011.
SFBay Kiosk Advisory English Version.pdf (371.75 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Cambodian Version.pdf (414.78 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Chinese Version.pdf (431.85 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Japanese Verison.pdf (417.86 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Korean Version.pdf (597.89 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Laotian Version.pdf (388.64 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Samoan Version.pdf (352.82 KB)
SFBay_Kiosk.Spanish.5-9-13.pdf (357.87 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Tagalog Version.pdf (339.03 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Tongan Version.pdf (352.32 KB)
SFBay Kiosk Advisory Vietnamese Version.pdf (335.05 KB)
Low-literacy, two-page brochure, with advice for women and children regarding fish bought in stores and restaurants as well as fish caught in fresh water lakes and rivers in Northern California. Also contains information regarding serving sizes. Available in English and Spanish.
Safety Tips for Eating Fish for Women and Children_0.pdf (4.66 MB)
To order educational materials, please complete the order form (SFBFP Educational Materials Sept 18 2012.pdf (559 KB)) and email your request to Rona Hampton at Rona.Hampton@cdph.ca.gov.
To download a PDF version of the order form, please go to:
SFBFP Educational Materials Oct 24 2012_0.pdf (555.58 KB)