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Fishing tournament designed for testing
An environmental organization that wants to test as many fish as it can in a creek downstream from a Superfund site has come up with a novel idea for collecting samples.

It's holding a fishing tournament.

The Glynn Environmental Coalition has scheduled a tournament for Oct. 20 just north of Brunswick in Burnett Creek.

And while participants will be asked to contribute their catch if it's within legal limits, it won't be used for a fish fry at the end of the day.

Tournament organizers plan to have the fish analyzed for chemical contamination.

The tournament is just downstream from the Brunswick Wood Preserving Superfund Site.

"It's a unique tournament," said Daniel Parshley, project manager for the Glynn Environmental Coalition, organizer of the tournament.

Parshley said people routinely eat fish caught in the creek without realizing the possible risks. The fish caught in the tournament will help researchers determine the level of chemical contamination and risk posed to those who eat the fish.

There is no health risk to those participating in the tournament, Parshley said.

"What we tell people is this is the information you need to make choices about seafood," he said. "There is no danger catching fish in the estuary. The danger is in consumption."

Prizes will be given for Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum, Whiting, Black Drum, Spot and Croaker.

"We encourage families and kids to come and help us catch the fish," Parshley said. "This is a chance to catch fish and find out what chemicals are in them."

Parshley said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified dioxin as a chemical of concern in the creek.

"Unfortunately, what we already know has come from fish smaller than people eat," he said. "Chemicals can be much higher in larger fish through a process called bioaccumulation."

Parshley said it will take about two months for the Georgia Department of Public Health and the University of Georgia to analyze the fish and release the test results.

Tournament headquarters open 7:30 a.m. at Tractor Supply, 5940 New Jesup Highway, in Brunswick.

The tournament is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there is no admission or advance registration required.

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