Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ted Williams on Trout

When Environmentalists Turn Against Nature

From the March 2008 Audubon:

Fish are every bit as beautiful and colorful as birds, but few environmentalists ever see them because few are anglers. For instance, when you log on to the website of the Adirondack Council you hear the vocalization of a common loon -- the symbol of wilderness. The council sees and hears loons, but it doesn’t see or hear the brook trout that sustain loons and that are also symbols of wilderness. Wild brook trout in the Adirondacks have declined by roughly 97 percent. Today only about three percent of the park’s brook-trout habitat still sustains brook trout, and the figure would be only 0.5 percent had not the state used rotenone to reclaim ponds infested with alien fish. But the council, which chooses not to learn about rotenone, has basically blocked its use in park wilderness.

Other vanishing icons of American wilderness include westslope and Rio Grande cutthroat trout and Gila trout. But a group called Wilderness Watch, which doesn’t see them as such or see them at all, is perfectly willing to sacrifice these beautiful creatures by blocking use of rotenone and the equally safe and even shorter-lived organic piscicide, antimycin. “Poison has no place in wilderness stewardship,” proclaims Wilderness Watch. But fish and plant poisons are essential to wilderness management. Without them all hope of restoring native ecosystems takes wing. According to Wilderness Watch, restoration of imperiled salmonids is only about sport: “The purpose [of Gila trout restoration] is to remove stocked trout and replace them with the listed Gila trout, in an effort to boost the population to a level that will allow delisting and resumed sport fishing of the species.” That’s like saying that the recovery program for the California condor is only about birdwatching.

--Ted Williams

“Something’s Fishy: An Angler Looks at Our Distressed Gamefish and Their Waters -- and How We Can Preserve Both”

From Fly rod and reel

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