National coastal condition report III. Executive Summary, Part 2 of 2
According to the EPA’s NLFA data for 2003, the number of coastal and estuarine waters under fish consumption advisories represent an estimated 77% of the coastal waters of the conterminous United States, including 81% of the coastal shoreline miles and 56% of the estuarine area along the Northeast Coast; 100% of the shoreline miles along the Southeast Coast; 100% of the shoreline miles and 23% of the estuarine area along the Gulf Coast; and 10% of the shoreline miles and 31% of the estuarine area along the West Coast (Figure ES-4). Every Great Lake is under at least one fish consumption advisory, and advisories cover 100% of the Great Lakes shoreline. Although advisories in U.S. estuarine and shoreline waters have been issued for a total of 23 individual chemical contaminants, most of the advisories issued resulted from four primary contaminants: PCBs; mercury; DDT and its degradation products, DDE and DDD; and dioxins and furans. These four chemical contaminants were responsible, at least in part, for 92% of all fish consumption advisories in effect for estuarine and coastal marine waters in 2003. These data are provided by states or other regulatory agencies and compiled in nationally maintained databases. The agencies contributing these data use different methodologies and criteria for assessment; therefore, the data cannot be used to make broadbased comparisons among the different coastal areas.