Robert Montgomery pens a conservation column in B.A.S.S. Times, published monthly by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. Here’s what his Sept. column says: “Recreational fishing as we know it no longer exists in portions of Western Europe. Even more disturbing, the seeds of its destruction are well established here (in the U.S.) When people are asked whether they approve of recreational fishing for sport, answers change dramatically. In some urbanized states in the West, 25 to 30 percent of the people view angling for sport as cruel. About 20 percent feel the same way in more rural states.”
A worst case scenario, Montgomery points out, already exists in Switzerland. “The Swiss Animal Welfare Act of 2008 highlights the nightmarish possibilities. The legislation makes catch-and-release illegal because “it is in conflict with the dignity of the fish and its presumed ability to suffer and feel pain.’”
Adopting such a system in this country, Montgomery says, “would mean that a majority of the nation’s millions of anglers would stop fishing.”
The 79-year-old American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has created a new advocacy arm to rally fishermen whenever threats to the sport arise, said Dave Precht, B.A.S.S. Times editor, in that same issue. That arm is called Keep America Fishing (KAF) and it’s grown from 20,000 members two years ago to 750,000 this year. The goal is to increase membership to 3 million by 2015, Precht says.
So, what can you do?
“There is no membership fee to join,” said Gordon C. Robertson, vice president of ASA. “All you do is sign up for the e-newsletter and alerts and that is it. We do make it possible for members to make a donation.”
For more information, go to www.keepamericafishing.org and click About Us. Don’t know about you, but I’m joining.
• My good friend, Albert Moody, was fishing in the Horseshoe Island area one morning this week when he saw a strange bird diving for bait fish being chased to the surface by hybrids, stripers or largemouth bass.
“You won’t believe this, but it was a pelican!” he said. I asked what he had to drink for breakfast, but our mutual friend, David Willard, was out there, too and vouched for Albert’s eyesight. “That bird was diving into the bait fish right next to my boat and having a grand old time,” Willard said. “I remember seeing a pelican up here several years ago.”