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Entries in KAF (5)


Please, Help Keep Plastic Out Of Our Waters!

This is a northern pike that Adam Turnbull caught recently while fishing the Saskatchewan River in Alberta, Canada Saturday. Although it fought like a normal fish, it had a plastic six-pack ring around its middle. It obviously had been there for awhile, as the side view of the fish shows.

Would it eventually have died from having its mid-section squeezed and mutilated?

 No one knows. Turnbull cut it off, and said this on a Facebook post about the incident.

"Pick up your garbage. This is a Powerade wrapper which takes up no room in your pocket until you get to a garbage can. Please share!

"Never thought this post would hit 10k shares. Thanks to everyone who has had a look at this post, as it was meant to raise awareness and that it has."

*    *    *    *

I've  never tossed plastic of any kind into the water. Not baits. Not six-pack rings. Not sandwich bags or wrappers from peanut butter crackers. It just didn’t make sense to me.

But I saw other people do it, including friends and even some professional anglers. If those discarded items were in reach before they sank, I’d nonchalantly pick them up and stow them to throw away later on shore. Yet I never said anything to them for a number of reasons, including the fact that often I was fishing out of their boats.

Others, I suspect, have had similar experiences with their fishing buddies.

Why do people who wouldn’t otherwise litter think that it’s okay to pitch plastic into our lakes and rivers? I don’t think that they do. I believe that they just don’t think about it at all. It’s part of the age old problem that we have with using our public waters for trash receptacles--- out of sight, out of mind.

But  too often those discarded plastics shos up eventually. If they're baits, anglers find them in the stomachs of fish, as I've shown in photos often at Activist Angler. Turtles mistake plastic bags and balloons for jellyfish and eat them. And six-pack rings ensnare both fish and wildlife, as the photos with this article show.

*    *    *    *

Thousands of animals, from small finches to great white sharks, die grisly deaths each year from eating or getting caught in plastic that accumulates in our oceans at an alarming rate. So why not do something to minimize the avalanche of plastic trash and save lives?

Why not edible six-pack rings?

And that's just what SaltWater Brewery in Florida has come up with. Here's what the company says:

"Most plastic beer sixpack rings end up in our oceans and pose a serious threat to wildlife. Together with We Believers, we  designed, tested and prototyped the first ever Edible Six Pack Rings, sixpack packaging, made with byproducts of the beer making process, that instead of killing animals, feeds them. They are also 100% biodegradable and compostable."

Check out the informational video at the company's website. And here's a more in-depth article about the project.

We produce more than 300 million tons of plastic annually. That's equivalent to the combined weight of all adult humans on earth. Nearly half of this we use once and then throw away. In just the first decade of this century, we made more plastic than all the plastic in history up to the year 2000.

Much of it is discarded on land, but is carried by wind, rain, and runoff to the oceans, where it accumulates year after year after year. That's because plastic is so durable that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports "every bit of plastic ever made still exists."

The North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is twice the size of Texas and growing. It consists mostly of small plastic particles that suspend at or just below the surface, where fish and other animals mistake them for food. Plastic there is more prevalent than real food, like zooplankton, by about 6 to 1, according to scientists.

This is but one of five such convergence zones in our oceans.

Following are some sobering statistics about discarded plastic from the Center on Biological Diversity:

Fish in the North Pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, which can cause intestinal injury and death and transfers plastic up the food chain to bigger fish and marine mammals.

Sea turtles also mistake floating plastic garbage for food. While plastic bags are the most commonly ingested item, loggerhead sea turtles have been found with soft plastic, ropes, Styrofoam, and monofilament lines in their stomachs. Ingestion of plastic can lead to blockage in the gut, ulceration, internal perforation and death; even if their organs remain intact, turtles may suffer from false sensations of satiation and slow or halt reproduction.

Hundreds of thousands of seabirds ingest plastic every year. Plastic ingestion reduces the storage volume of the stomach, causing birds to consume less food and ultimately starve. Nearly all Laysan albatross chicks — 97.5 percent — have plastic pieces in their stomachs; their parents feed them plastic particles mistaken for food. Based on the amount of plastic found in seabird stomachs, the amount of garbage in our oceans has rapidly increased in the past 40 years.

Marine mammals ingest and get tangled in plastic. Large amounts of plastic debris have been found in the habitat of endangered Hawaiian monk seals, including in areas that serve as pup nurseries. Entanglement deaths are severely undermining recovery efforts of this seal, which is already on the brink of extinction. Entanglement in plastic debris has also led to injury and mortality in the endangered Steller sea lion, with packing bands the most common entangling material. In 2008 two sperm whales were found stranded along the California coast with large amounts of fishing net scraps, rope and other plastic debris in their stomachs.

*    *    *    *

If you haven't done so, pledge to “pitch it” at Keep America Fishing (KAF).

When the campaign began a couple of years ago, KAF said this:

“What happens when soft baits get torn or worn out? Too often, they are ending up as litter at the bottoms of ponds, lakes and rivers and that’s causing problems. Recently in Maine a bill was introduced that would have banned the sale and use of soft plastic lures.

“That's why Keep America Fishing created the Pitch It campaign to talk to fishermen about the proper disposal of worn out soft baits. By standing up against litter, we can protect our precious natural resources while taking away a powerful argument from those who want to regulate the contents of our tackle boxes. That’s a win-win!”

Go here to take the pledge and hear a short video by Kevin VanDam in support of the effort.

By the way, I started warning about the problems caused by discarded plastic baits back in 2011, first in B.AS.S. Times and then at Activist Angler. Angler Joe Ford, who caught a large bass with a stomach full of discarded baits, and Carl Wengenroth at The Angler's Lodge on Lake Amistad first brought this issue to my attention. You can find more photos and articles about this topic by searching "plastics." Search box is at upper right of page.


KAF Needs Your Support to Protect Fishing

As a kid, I didn’t just love to fish.

I lived to fish.

Over the years --- and usually fishing --- I’ve met many who felt the same way about their childhood.

Reading comments on Facebook and in fishing forums, I can see that many adults never outgrow that feeling. That’s good. (And that passion is what inspired me to write Why We Fish.)

In fact, the world would be a better place if more people felt that way. I’m not talking about forsaking a family, giving up a job, and throwing away responsibility to go fishing 24/7. I’m talking about recognizing the value of fishing for relaxation, enjoyment of nature, and as a dangling carrot to get you from Monday to Friday.

 I'm talking about time spent with children and grandchildren that allows you to share knowledge and experience, as well as pass on the passion for a wholesome activity that has brought you so much happiness.

Sadly, many who do not fish are rising to power in all levels of government. They come from a background that says preservation --- look but don’t touch --- is better than conservation --- sustainable use of a resource through good stewardship. Some are adamantly anti-fishing, with close ties to extreme environmental groups. Others simply give no thought or value to recreational fishing and would consider its demise an acceptable loss for implementation of their agendas.

What can be we about this? Well, we could take them fishing. That really is the best solution. But we might have to abduct some of them to get them out of their cubicles, and that could get complicated and messy and charges might be filed.

The alternative is to organize and stand strong for recreational fishing. I know, I know: Fishing is your escape from things like organizing and standing strong. It takes you back to childhood, when living to fish was pure and uncomplicated.

I understand and respect that feeling. But I also know that neglecting to defend what you love against an overzealous enemy is the surest way to lose it.

The irony is that those of us who fish --- more than 40 million --- far outnumber those who would take it away. But the latter are committed to a preservationist agenda, while we who fish are committed to fishing more than we are protecting our right to fish.

Or at least that’s the way that it has been.

“We’re the biggest recreational sporting group in the country, but we’ve hardly been organized enough to tie our shoes,” said Bob Eakes, owner of Red Drum Tackle in Buxton, N.C.

Eakes and his business are among the first casualties in this war against recreational fishing, where many of the early volleys are being fired at saltwater anglers. Under the guise of protecting birds and turtles, the National Park Service (NPS) elected to side with three environmental groups and shut down access to nearly half of the world-famous surf fishery at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

“Twenty-one national parks are waiting to see how this plays out,” Eakes explained. “And we’re starting to see issues in freshwater as well.”

On inland fisheries thus far, recreational fishing is being attacked mostly by groups who want to ban lead fishing tackle and associations and municipalities who use concerns about the spread of invasive species to shut down access.

But more is on the way. By executive order, the new federal National Ocean Council can decide where you can and cannot fish on oceans, coastal waters, and the Great Lakes, and it has the authority to extend its reach inland to rivers and lakes.

That’s why your support for the Keep America Fishing campaign is so vitally needed. And if you live in Florida, or fish there, you also should check out Keep Florida Fishing. The list of initiatives to ban or severely restrict fishing there is growing every day. Both these sites can educate you about the threats to fishing and what you can do about them.

“No one has been trumpeting the message that the public’s right to fish is at stake. But with Keep America Fishing, we now have a way to do that,” said Eakes.


Closures 'Corrupt, Unfunded and Unnecessary'

Jim Matthews at FishRap is reporting that "the California State Fish and Game Commission adopted sweeping closures of ocean waters off the Southern California coast, eliminating sportfishing and most other uses in these areas in a vote Dec. 15 in Santa Barbara. 

"In adopting the regulations, mandated as part of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), three words come immediately to mind about the process: corrupt, unfunded and unnecessary. The process has been flawed from the beginning."

Folks, as I've warned repeatedly, this is what could be coming nationwide, courtesy of the National Ocean Council.

Follow what's happening at FishRap, Keep America Fishing, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Center for Coastal Conservation, and Recreational Fishing Alliance.

Also, check out the works of Capt. Len Belcaro at Big Game Fishing Journal. He is doing an excellent job of exposing this attempted big-government theft of our right to fish.

Get active and get involved. The future of fishing depends on your activism.


Do Your Homework, Please!




All right, class, I know that you want to finish up here so that you can get out and go fishing. But we have one more topic to cover.

First, let's . . .  Wait a minute. Johnny, is that a worm hanging out of your mouth?

You're keeping them warm until you can go fishing?

Didn't I see you out in the pasture across the road turning over cow patties to get those worms?


Never mind. I don't want to know.

Let's try again. All right, class, I want you to go to Keep America Fishing(KAF). At the very least make it one of your favorites. Better yet, make it your home page.

Sign up for e-mails that will deliver news and alerts to your mailbox.

Now, Liberty Rose, why is this important?

That's right, recreational fishing is threatened as never before. And, Johnny, give me an example of how KAF can help.

I know, I know, it's tough to talk with your mouth full. Try.

Excellent! That's right. KAF mobilized 43,000 anglers to help defeat a proposed lead ban on fishing tackle.

Okay, school's out. Go fishing!

Photo information: By the way, that girl did catch that 40-inch-plus northern pike all by herself. I watched her and took the photo, while fishing out of North Knife Lake Lodge in Manitoba.


Help Keep America Fishing

Hey, make a $30 donation to Keep America Fishing --- your friend and mine --- and you will receive a free Rapala Pro Bass Fishing game for Nintendo Wii bundled with a rod and reel adapter for your Wii controller. That's a $49.99 value.

Your donation will help preserve our right to fish.