Hello, Dear readers!
First, i've been updating my fishing sessions on my other post. Make sure to check it from time to time! =)
Also, Mike H. has been fishing less, but still catching some fish:
- Bass fishing at Lake Alverthorpe (You can clearly notice that NINJA Mike does a NINJA sound before setting up the hook)
- November Bass fishing at Haddon Lake
A little bonus here for those who fish the Schuylkill banks. Hehe.
If you know already about part 3, you can totally skip it! It actually has to do more with History than fishing, but it helps us understand how the World is not sustainable nowadays, and HOW could we make it sustainable. Hopefully, the sad part is to realize that we would have to give away A LOT of our comfort to make that happen.
--- 1. The Point of the Post ---
As you can see, fishing is not just about putting a line in the water, or catching a fish. Maybe it's just like that at the beginning, but fishermen soon start to realize that it's MORE THAN THAT!
Every visited location is a fond memory that will never fade. Every fishing day becomes an unique day with its own mysteries and frustrations, and sometimes even a catch of a lifetime; and even more - the friends that you make and the knowledge that you gain are certainly exceptional and bonded to the heart and the soul.
Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it beautiful to have people from different backgrounds joined together by a common factor? Good fishing friends share a bond that society nowadays barely recognizes; a deep bond that resembles the loyal brotherhood of a long time ago.
The video shows a couple pictures of fishing locations that I've been to in the past 2 years. It was while making it that I thought of the importance of the "Catch-Photo-Release; practice CPR," and "Protect our environment" topics. It's been only 2 years since I've been to all those locations in the video, and some of them changed a lot already (i.e. FDR Park).
My point here is simple, and very clear: angler or not, one should realize that we have taken a toll on nature in the past couple centuries, and now it's the time to try our best to preserve nature. For anglers, the quality of fishing has been degraded for the past century or so, since the sustainability of our bodies of water was lost; In other words, since human beings started to harvest fish with a catching ratio higher than the fishes' reproduction ratio. From that point onwards, fish were no longer able to replenish its populations because we were, basically, over harvesting them.
Let's talk a little bit about the future...
--- 2. What to expect? ---
I found this question to be one of the deepest questions we can ask ourselves: "What do we expect?"
This entire semester, I heard my Electricity and Electromagnetism teacher mumbling about this specific question many times. He often said:
"Different than computers, this is a trait of the human mind. Computers are able to calculate results, but they will never be able to have expectations while looking at a formula or exercise to be solved."
Indeed, this question has brought me many hardships for the past couple months. It's truly a challenge to look at a Physics exercise, and try to expect what the result will be; or better saying, how the resulting formula is supposed to behave in the Physical way.
Okay, guys...I may have bored you out of your mind with my Physics example, but this question can actually be applied (and should) to every aspect of LIFE (including fishing, of course)! One can apply this to his/her own love life, decision making, goals for the future, and even daily actions (causality - action, reaction). This is a golden question that we should ask ourselves every time we do something of significant value. So, from this perspective, what exactly do we expect? What do I expect?
First, we have to think about "why is it so important to mention CPR and Environmental Conservation when it comes to fishing?" The answer is rather imbued in the human soul: it's important, so we will save these wonderful fishing locations, including the fishes, for future generations to come, so future generations will be able to enjoy the similar feelings that we have while being outside - with nature, or fishing with friends, or just enjoying ourselves.
It's not just about the future generations, if you think about it! These actions of protection and conservation are directly related to our moral code. One knows that there's no universal moral code, hence morality is highly influenced by sociological factors (i.e. culture), not to mention that a code that deals with morality is a social contract; however, the beauty of every moral code around the World lies in the fact that they mirror the natural concern for the well-being of other people. Therefore, one can say that protecting the environment and releasing fish is the same as having enough humility and generosity for fellow fishermen, future generations, us, and the Earth itself.
Certain things need to change, guys...and fast - we no longer have the luxury to waste time. Environmentally speaking, the expectation is simple: the human race is depleting Earth's sources at a very fast pace nowadays, and fishing will one day be degraded to a point that the sport may even disappear. Due to many different variables, such as population growth, mass production, etc, the World is no longer sustainable.
--- 3. The Environment from a Global Perspective ---
Okay...now we have talked a little bit about expectations (the future), and the main idea in this post. Now we have to deal with the past - understand why things are the way they are nowadays, and how exactly did those influence the USA. Of course, I won't be able to put every major detail out, but we can still review some brief History, and see how can that can be related to us - Philadelphians, Americans, or whatever word you define yourself with.
Note: Also, it's good to remember that many different bodies of water around Philadelphia still suffer from "acid mine drainage." You can know all about it by clicking on the link! The Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek are just two examples...it doesn't only contaminate the water, but can also kill fish due to acid shock.
Isn't that sad, but amazing at the same time? In less than 10 years, the Sturgeon population in the Delaware River was reduced to almost nothing due to over harvesting! And because of this tragic event in history, even nowadays, the Sturgeon population did not recover yet. As far as I know, reports showed a couple Sturgeon fingerlings in certain portions of the Delaware River, but no signs of great migrations around. Wouldn't it be great if we could be catching Sturgeons at the Delaware River? Think about it.
--- 5. Why Should I Protect the Environment and Practice CPR? ---
I guess the answer is pretty evident after all this post, isn't it? Hehe. Anyways...here's a few things that you should take in consideration:
- Fish Comsumption: PCBs and heavy metals
As mentioned above, Philadelphia suffered a lot from water pollution and different types of contamination (i.e. Acid mine drainage). Therefore, the fish that you get from any public body of water in Philadelphia (or around PA) may contain PCBs and heavy metals that are harmful for your body. In other words, I highly advise anglers to not eat the fish from public waters unless they are very certain that the fish are safe to eat. Personally, I have tested different samples of fishes from different bodies of water around Philadelphia for heavy metals, and many of them turned out to be "harmful" (specially bottom feeders; i.e. Channel Catfish, Common Carp, American Eels). When it comes to PCBs, it's much harder to test. It's known, however, that PCBs are stored in fatty tissue; therefore, according to research, cleaning and cooking the fish properly should reduce PCBs up to 75%.
Notice that the symptoms for consuming PCBs and heavy metals are usually not acute, but chronic (i.e. carcinogens - the production of cells that cause cancer in our body). Therefore, a person may not notice the harm done until the same has consumed contaminated fish for a long time. Always watch out for these two little devils!
Trout is definitely the one Species of fish in Philadelphia that are safe to eat, since they are stocked by the PA Boat and Commission. Therefore, I always encourage all readers to go catch them, and eat them! After all, a lot of our money goes for use in Trout fish hacheries and so on. Make sure you have your Trout Stamp!
- Overharvesting and Selective Harvest
Make sure you keep your fishing spots "sustainable." In other words, when you go fish, don't take fish that are rare or too big. Taking trophy fish from a certain body of water, for example, may damage the fish genetics of the whole environment. The concept is actually pretty simple: trophy fish have the genetics to give birth to potential big fish. Therefore, when someone removes a trophy fish, that same person is very likely killing millions of offsprings that could have existed, from which a couple could also been trophy fish. Overharvesting also leaves a person with less fish to fish. Anglers often complain how the fishing is not the same as before, and fishing quality usually drops because of over harvest. The FDR park in South Philadelphia is a clear example of that.
The right thing to do is to practice selective harvesting. In other words, CPR the fishes that have a significant importance to a certain body of water, while taking others of less significance. Take only what you will eat, and never waste. One curious fact: sometimes, it's not about sizes... One of the unsolved mysteries in the World of fishing is the cycling populations of Black Crappie. During a certain time period, they get stunted; during another certain time-frame, their population diminishes, but they grow big in sizes! This cycle is definitely interesting, and it applies perfectly to the concept of selective harvest. By harvesting stunted populations of Black Crappie (check your state's creel limit laws first!), you can actually expect to break the cycle. On the other hand, if you harvest too many, then you will have none to catch.
Harvesting requires a vast amount of knowledge. Without such, blind harvesting fish can lead to extreme consequences to the sport. Always keep that in mind!
- Respect the environment: don't litter
Don't forget that you are not the only one fishing in PUBLIC waters. Therefore, in respect to others, you should always keep your spots CLEAN. In other words, leave all your trash with you. If you watched the video above, you will notice that I've pointed out that the Race Street Pier is no longer opened for fishing. Truth is: it was opened for fishing when it first opened, but the owners of the pier didn't like that idea very much. Using our mistakes (anglers) to back their reasonings, they were able to close the wonderful spot down. They declared that anglers were "destroying the property, leaving bloody marks behind, leaving trash on the floor, and one angler hooked a little girl by accident."
Oh well...you will have to agree with me on this one: nobody likes to see their own property getting messed up. Therefore, we should always pay attention when we cast (safety first), and always make sure that our surroundings are clean of our trash.
Let's remind ourselves that the image of an angler here in Philadelphia is made by no one other than ourselves. Therefore, protecting the environment and respecting wildlife is the same as giving away a good image of youself to your family, your peers, and everyone else in this country. You are doing a favor to you, the ones close to you, future generations to come, not to mention that you are moraly setting a right image/reputation, which should make you feel good!
Hopefully these will convince you that protecting the environment and practicing selective harvest and CPR are very beneficial for everyone, including yourself.
The World may be a little bit messed up (okay, maybe more than a little), but hope is still out there. As far as more people get educated and united, there will be changes.
I hope you learned something new in this post,
Best of luck to all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,