March 31, 2009

killing in the name of.....

It seems like just about every spring, the fuckheads neanderthals bowfishermen make their way out of the woodwork, and start asking around to see who will take their kill. You already know my stance on those folks. The discussion always gets ugly.

The main axis of discussion always involves around the ignorance that all roughfish are harmful to the environment, and therefore need to be removed by bow and arrow justice. Carp are the only harmful species of roughfish. Agreed that both sides to the debate are firm in their beliefs, I often encounter the opposing party ignorant and unaware to the actual statutes and rules put forth by the State regarding roughfish management. All kinds of arguments and slippery slopes are presented for argument by the other side, yet once statutory language is brought in to the debate, the argument quickly fizzles. So what is the real root of the problem?

The introduction of carp to Minnesota was one of mixed blessing. While originally lauded as a food staple and introduced to waters with fervor, the prolificacy and fecundity of carp proved so successful in Minnesota waters, that these fish quickly became a nuisance. Add to the fact that many native gamefish species had a more desirable taste to the palate, and the carp was no longer wanted as a food source. The final straw adding to the malignancy of carp, was their effect on lake water quality and destruction of aquatic vegetation beds. The fate of the carp was doomed. Unfortunately, anglers and the public in general, had difficulty in distinguishing the non-native carp from indigenous sucker species like buffalo and redhorse, and lumped them all together as roughfish. The problems associated with carp soon became maligned to these native fish. Tradition of assumption and ignorance soon passed down from generation to generation in regards to these fish, and have been ingrained in the fabric of angling society. For decades, innocent roughfish species have been tossed on the bank and left to rot on shore by anglers thinking they are doing the ecosystem good; the cruel fate of injustice.

"To say that roughfish destroy our lakes is ignorance at best. Man is the biggest destructor of lakes"

No one is doubting the ecological harm done by carp on our ecosystems. Other roughfish, however, play a key niche to fish ecosystems and provide a very necessary forage base to other roughfish and game fish species. Removing roughfish (except for carp) from a population would likely result in a large imbalance in an aquatic ecosystem, possibly even resulting in a crash of many aquatic specie populations. Even though carp have a tremendous potential for sport fishing recreational value, they are still a regulated invasive species. They are already naturalized in many waters, and from past history have been proven to be nearly impossible to remove from a body of water. They should not, however, be allowed to spread to new bodies of water. And on the same note, that goes for any other fish species (game or non-game fish) being introduced outside of their native range or to waters that have not historically held a population. That includes the foolish advance walleye stocking program that occurs across the state of Minnesota. If they weren't there to begin with, they shouldn't be in there now. I am a big proponent of native fish species management.

Aside from trying to overcome the negative stigma of roughfish and breakdown the wall of ignorance, my biggest beef comes with the senseless, needless killing of fish. Waste not, want not. My elders impressed on me the teachings of only taking what you will use. I don't believe in senseless killing. I thought that was common sense to everybody, but apparently that is not so. Just because I have the power to kill, doesn't mean that I have to. What's worse, is that many of these offenders proclaim that they love bowfishing because it is fun. Killing animals is fun? Outdoor sports should be enjoyable, but your are crossing the line when you are killing animals for fun. I respect life. I don't believe in killing just to kill. Shooting a bunch of fish and dumping them in a farmers field for disposal isn't a fair use in my opinion. In the letters of the law, this practice is still deemed as acceptable, but that only continues to condone the needless killing of roughfish. I have no problem with any legal harvest of fish, as long as they are used for consumption. I'm not convinced that fertilizer is the best possible use for these fish.

Many "sportsmen" complain about groups like PETA trying to take away our right to hunt and fish. When indivuals and groups make statements saying that they enjoying killing animals for fun, that only adds fuel to PETA's fire, giving them plenty of ammunition to use against us. When making statements like that who could blame PETA, it all sounds so juvenile and unsportsmanlike. The needless killing of animals is a blatant disrespect for life in general, and upsetting. Not to mention an egregious contradiction of the "Christian" teachings many of these people follow. They are far from being shepherds of the flock. I don't want to give PETA even an inch in this battle. Fuck PETA.

Kill all the carp you want, but leave the rest of the roughfish alone.

-the roughfisher

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  1. JPL-

    I agree with you on needless killing, PETA and on native fish management. Generally speaking, bowfishing turns my stomach more than a bit. I am also unsure/doubtful it's effectiveness as an invasive species management "tool" and I haven't explored Minnesota's fish and game there not value in allowing a substantial take of (invasive) carp (by whatever means) to be used as ("organic") fertilizer? As a conservationist (self-proclaimed) I think I would support a form of invasive population control that also provides the benefit of reducing chemical and fossil fuel dependancy in farming (however incremental).

  2. I don't personally view commercial use of a fishery as waste. Harvesting carp on a commercial scale for use as organic fertilizer is a valid idea. It's when people are killing first and finding a use second, that I take issue. Substituting carp for chemical fertilizer application is a novel approach, though I question the impact of introducing heavy metals to soils producing our food supply will have. It would likely be sustainable, though, as carp are highly fecund and prolific, and near impossible to remove from a body of water, whether through commercial netting or chemical reclamation (rotenone). Recent phermone study research at the U of MN has suggested that there may be another tool down the road for controlling carp populations.

  3. JPL - FYI: In some parts of CO, killing of species other than carp is encouraged (i.e. pike on medaled trout stillwater). What are your thoughts there?

  4. @MG: if they aren't indigenous to the water than follow the state management plan. Like the lake trout in yellowstone, if Fish and Wildlife want you to harvest and eat them then go ahead. As was mentioned earlier, I'm not a proponent of senseless killing, however if a non native/indigenous species is wreaking havoc on an ecosystem that it was introduced, follow action according to established management guidelines. If that means catch and kill, so be it.

    Bottom line, I like to follow the state and federal management policies put in place. Aside from the bureaucratic tape here and there, they typically are trying their best to manage the resource. It's best to follow suit with their policies.