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Fishing - Massachusetts Massachusetts Fishing Reports and Information from the Plum to the "Race"

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Old 05-09-2004, 05:49 PM
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Fishing over and eating out of troubled waters

By Roger Aziz
Correspondent

I enjoy eating fish. Being a fisherman, this is not a major revelation.

But it's the reason I'm chagrined over the fact that now most freshwater fish -- and for that matter some saltwater species -- are now considered a health threat. Even those healthy looking big bass have become the victims of pollutants contaminating our lakes and ponds.

The pollutants do not take root in a fish overnight. The contamination develops over time as fish feed on smaller ones already harmed. That is why the larger the fish, the more likely it is to be contaminated above safe levels set by both state and federal health agencies.

It would be different if the fish we ate left a bad taste in our mouth. We would then voluntarily want to give up eating them. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the species we have eaten for years. Most still appear healthy and taste just fine.

Long before we began to be concerned about those allegedly contaminated freshwater fish here in Massachusetts, New York fishermen were being warned to eat their large Lake Ontario trout only in small quantities. Because mercury poisoning is cumulative, it is wise not to eat any species of fish that may have levels approaching unsafe amounts.

Fish contaminated with PCBs, dioxins and mercury, to name but a few chemicals in our waters, are not restricted to the East Coast. From Idaho to Texas to Minnesota and throughout most of the continuous states, health advisories have been issued against eating freshwater fish.

In Massachusetts, freshwater fish (those that are considered warmwater species such as bass, pickerel, crappie, and horned pout) are allegedly contaminated with PCBs and mercury. The larger the fish, the more unfit it is to eat.

Warning signs hung at some ponds, such as Haverhill's Round and Plug ponds, explain to fishermen the effects of eating species caught there, and several other lakes in Massachusetts bear the same warnings.

Now, Atlantic salmon brood stock fish are suspect. While the authorities suggest these fish will pass the government tests for safe levels of PCBs in their systems, salmon stocking has been halted until the results are revealed in about six weeks.

Because the federal government offered to test Massachusetts trout for free, it was given some hatchery fish to examine. Chances are these fish will be found to be safe to eat.

While Bay State trout are fed the same type food as salmon, those trout not as large or as old as salmon when stocked ought to be will within safe levels. For hatchery fish, their diet appears to be the prime cause for PCBs in their flesh.

These days, fishermen must use common sense when eating freshwater fish. Unfortunately, this deprives us of an inexpensive source of protein and some fine dining.
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Old 05-09-2004, 05:49 PM
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Fishing over and eating out of troubled waters

By Roger Aziz
Correspondent

I enjoy eating fish. Being a fisherman, this is not a major revelation.

But it's the reason I'm chagrined over the fact that now most freshwater fish -- and for that matter some saltwater species -- are now considered a health threat. Even those healthy looking big bass have become the victims of pollutants contaminating our lakes and ponds.

The pollutants do not take root in a fish overnight. The contamination develops over time as fish feed on smaller ones already harmed. That is why the larger the fish, the more likely it is to be contaminated above safe levels set by both state and federal health agencies.

It would be different if the fish we ate left a bad taste in our mouth. We would then voluntarily want to give up eating them. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the species we have eaten for years. Most still appear healthy and taste just fine.

Long before we began to be concerned about those allegedly contaminated freshwater fish here in Massachusetts, New York fishermen were being warned to eat their large Lake Ontario trout only in small quantities. Because mercury poisoning is cumulative, it is wise not to eat any species of fish that may have levels approaching unsafe amounts.

Fish contaminated with PCBs, dioxins and mercury, to name but a few chemicals in our waters, are not restricted to the East Coast. From Idaho to Texas to Minnesota and throughout most of the continuous states, health advisories have been issued against eating freshwater fish.

In Massachusetts, freshwater fish (those that are considered warmwater species such as bass, pickerel, crappie, and horned pout) are allegedly contaminated with PCBs and mercury. The larger the fish, the more unfit it is to eat.

Warning signs hung at some ponds, such as Haverhill's Round and Plug ponds, explain to fishermen the effects of eating species caught there, and several other lakes in Massachusetts bear the same warnings.

Now, Atlantic salmon brood stock fish are suspect. While the authorities suggest these fish will pass the government tests for safe levels of PCBs in their systems, salmon stocking has been halted until the results are revealed in about six weeks.

Because the federal government offered to test Massachusetts trout for free, it was given some hatchery fish to examine. Chances are these fish will be found to be safe to eat.

While Bay State trout are fed the same type food as salmon, those trout not as large or as old as salmon when stocked ought to be will within safe levels. For hatchery fish, their diet appears to be the prime cause for PCBs in their flesh.

These days, fishermen must use common sense when eating freshwater fish. Unfortunately, this deprives us of an inexpensive source of protein and some fine dining.
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Old 05-10-2004, 12:21 PM
TonyT TonyT is offline
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I'd like to add that a canadian company with a dismal record of protecting the enviroment, St. Lawrence Cement, is currently lobbying to build a huge coal fired cement plant on the Hudson river, without technolgy available that would signifiactly reduce emmisions (e.g. MERCURY!!!).

As the prevailing winds from the proposed monster smokestack will carry the foul spoor to massachusetts I urge you to contact your legislator and/or DEP/EPA to express your concerns.
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Old 05-10-2004, 06:44 PM
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I would never eat a fresh water fish from around here. I know what's going on around me. I don't need it in writing to see. Since I was old enough to read I saw all the signs that said HIGH MERCURY CONTENT DO NOT EAT. and I live way out in the boonies. I do freshwater fish but not often anymore. I can't see torturing a fish unless ya gonna eat it. What's the point?? I fish because I like fish. It's a proud thing to put food on your families table. There is no way that is gonna happen in many of our rivers and lakes. It's been that way for years. That's why I hit the surf!! It will take years before I will ever eat a freshwater fish and that is sad. But where I come from they have been working on cleaning up everything for a very long time. I know people who eat trout and bass and they seem okay for now. I think I have known for over 30 years that you don't eat the fish from around here. This is nothing new to me.
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Old 05-14-2004, 08:37 PM
riverfisher riverfisher is offline
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lets take a look at were the mercury is coming from.Mercury is a natural element that is every were in small quantities.the mercury that is poluting our water ways comes from coal fired power plant.the clean water act and the clean air act started to requireing power plants to install the technology that removes the mercury from it's emmissions.Not now though. Our great president GW eased the requirements. Now the power plants can pump all the mercury they want into the air. As for PCB's lets blame General Electric. They are the ones that started this mess. Did I mention that they are also one of our counries biggest defence contractors. I think we should start a class action suit to force them to find a way to clean up there mess.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:40 PM
clambellies clambellies is offline
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Default Re: like eating fresh water fish, think again

Here in our neck of MA, the Miller's River has been brought back from the toxic mess it once was. It is back to being a fine trout river in places. But nobody with any sense would eat any fish that has been in the river for any length of time. Pollutants are still locked into the bottom mud.

There are two large stretches for Catch & Release, the state stocks there and other places on the river with mostly rainbows which pretty much disappear once they've been caught and taken and once the summer warms the water. Brown trout survive the warmer just fine and really are the optimum fish for this river.

There's a local non profit group, The Miller's River Fishermen's Assoc. that uses it's own money and donations to stock hundreds of trout. The state give them the permits to stock only rainbows, since rainbows are viewed as "Put and Take", outside of the catch & release areas. They feel browns will survive to hold ever and grow large and be a health threat if eaten. So, the river is stocked with fish designed to disappear.

What's wrong with this picture?
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