Going fishing? Be sure to read these signs before casting your line

Signs like these will now be posted at popular boat launches, piers, and beaches across the state to warn swimmers and anglers about water quality and seafood consumption risks. (Kati Weis, WALA FOX10 News)

A year after FOX10 News Investigates exposed lack of signage in popular fishing areas to alert anglers of pollution concerns, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is now installing signs across the state.

The signs could make a big difference for locals, possibly preventing someone from eating unsafe seafood, or swimming in water contaminated with sewage.

In May 2017, our investigation, Testing the Bay, found eating some seafood from Mobile Bay could pose a danger to your health.

In fact, state agencies regularly close bay waters to shellfish harvesting, due to pollution concerns and sewage spills.

Mobile Bay isn't the only area of concern, in a 2018 fish consumption advisory, dozens of local waterways are listed as having fish with dangerous levels of mercury in their tissues.

But, many fishermen were totally unaware of those warnings.

"It aggravates me pretty bad, because they should let people know about this. this is a safety hazard," said local angler, Tommy Crooke, last May.

So, FOX10 News Investigates asked ADEM and the Alabama Department of Public Health why there aren't any signs at local fishing spots to warn people about the risks?

Now, a year later, ADEM officials said some signs are posted at popular boat launches, piers, and beaches statewide.

On the sign, you'll see several different ways you can get important information about water quality and fish consumption advisories. There's a web address you can type in, a phone number you can call, or you can use your cell phone to scan the QR code posted on the sign. This web page will pop up with tons of information about how to stay safe and healthy while using our local waterways.

All of the pink dots on this map are areas where the signs will be posted.

ADEM is spending $13,000 to put 500 signs across the state, and the agency hopes to post even more than that at other city and county boat launches in the near future.

ADEM said all of the signs planned for Mobile and Baldwin County have been posted, so be sure to look out for them the next time you go fishing.

All content © 2018, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

Investigative Reporter

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