Thursday, August 26


Now that the EPA has officially reported that more than 1/3 of our lakes and 1/4 of our rivers have fish contaminated with mercury, dioxin, PCB and pesticide pollution, and now that the entire world is acknowledging the dangerous levels of industrial-strength fire retardant in wild and farm-raised salmon worldwide (and now that Harry Shearer contributed his own self-produced radio ad offering a possible spin - "Sammy, The Salmon That Won't Burst into Flames"), you'd think we've hit bottom on this constant drumbeat of bad fish news.

But no, because researchers who analyzed 22 years of government catch records say Recreational fishing seriously harms threatened species - recreational fishing accounts for 64 per cent of the reported catch of overfished species along the Gulf of Mexico and 59 per cent along the Pacific Coast (and way worse for some species, e.g. "93 per cent of the catch of red drum from North Carolina to Florida and 87 per cent of the bocaccio catch in the Pacific"). You'd think guys out in boats catching a fish or two here or there couldn't possibly compare with the numbers of fish caught by commercial outfits, "but with 10.5 million amateurs fishing in US marine waters, the amateur catch adds up." There's quite a bit of interesting stuff here straight from the researchers' mouths, including the fact that "a large percentage of small fish die from the trauma" of catch-and-release fishing, and the point-blank statements "Too many people are fishing" and "Recreational fishing should no longer be seen as benign." If you're "hooked" on fishing, maybe you should start "casting about" for another hobby.

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