SESYNC Graduate Pursuit - Fishing and Urban Inequality
Access to vital resources, like food, water, housing and green space, can be influenced by processes of urbanization. For example, development of recreational spaces and the siting of industrial areas can lead to social exclusion that may unduly restrict access to resources and increase exposure to environmental hazards for poor and minority communities.
Although there has been considerable research on these processes, the impact of urbanization on subsistence fishing has been largely overlooked. Overwhelmingly, subsistence fishing in the US is classified as a recreational activity. However, recreational fish consumption provides crucial nutritional support for certain populations. Poor and minority communities are more likely to rely on self-caught fish for protein, while also having less understanding of the safety of consuming the fish they catch.
The ability to fish for consumption can be limited by the accessibility of fishing sites, abundance of fish, and contaminant levels in fish tissue. All of these aspects are influenced by urbanization policies; however, the impacts of urban development on subsistence fishing, with respect to land use, housing, amenities, and existing health risks, have not been much explored. Our work will address this research gap by utilizing existing survey, spatial, demographic and environmental data to assess how processes of urbanization may influence subsistence fishing habits and conflict with the existing consumption advisories.