Today is the first day of a two week schedule to air a Spanish language public service announcement (PSA) about mercury in fish that The Sierra Fund (TSF) developed in partnership with Deer Creek Broadcasting in Chico, California. The goal of the PSA is to reach a wide audience of Spanish speaking listeners with a consistent message about the benefits and risks of eating locally caught fish, and to offer language-relevant resources for further inquiry. We strategically chose to air the PSA over the next two weeks to leverage interest in the 25th Annual Return of the Salmon Festival on Saturday, October 21 in Anderson, CA, with the hope that in hearing about local fish-related events, listeners will make the connection to information about mercury in fish.
The primary messaging points we sought to communicate through the PSA include:
- Certain species of fish may be high in mercury, which could pose a serious health risk
- In general, trout are a healthier choice for consumption than bass because trout are commonly lower in mercury
- Mercury contamination varies by water body, and is often higher in watersheds impacted by historic gold and mercury mining
- More information about how to eat fish safely can be found at www.oehha.ca.gov/fish
Or, tune into Radio Mexico at 97.7 FM to see if you can catch the PSA live through Friday, October 27. Broadcasting coverage of this station includes the towns of Chico, Oroville, Yuba City, Grass Valley, Auburn, and others.
Huge thanks go out to the staff of Deer Creek Broadcasting, who recorded and helped to develop the PSA, and staff of the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Community Education and Participation section, who offered great advice as we navigated composing a PSA for the first time. CDPH offered two useful recommendations that guided our process: 1) keep the message simple, and 2) consider utilizing a “novella-style” conversation to relay the message. The outcomes of these suggestions are that:
- The complex and multi-faceted information about mercury in fish was boiled down to a succinct message, “eat more trout, eat less bass”
- The PSA presents the information through a conversation between a father and daughter, utilizing multiple characters to increase listener engagement and leveraging the capacity of children to be conduits of information by catching their attention through the use of age appropriate material
The Sierra Fund is excited that the PSA will build on the Spanish language outreach conducted this summer when over thirty Spanish language fish consumption advisories were posted for the first time at nine water bodies in five Sierra watersheds as part of our third annual Post It Day event. Additionally, over 50 Spanish language advisories were furnished to reservoir owners and operators for internal posting.
To learn more abut mercury in fish and to access additional resources, visit: https://sierrafund.org/focuses/mercury-in-the-sierra/