Letter: Peril of fishing debris

Peril of fishing debris

Friends of Animals has followed your profoundly sad, but important story about an osprey rescue ending tragically, (Hearst Connecticut Media, Aug. 7, 2018) followed by your excellent “Thumbs down” editorial, plus an article in which the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) warned that wildlife gets tangled up in the nearly invisible fishing line, “causing serious harm or death.”

Without prompting anglers to dispose of fishing lines, hooks and garbage properly, as your editorial says, there’s a “huge threat to wildlife,” including sea birds, sea mammals, turtles, fish and others. It’s astonishing that the first effort to avert this littering disaster comes from “a proactive student group in Fairfield that is building fishing line bins,” and that two conservation groups will install them at beaches and marinas.

Cheers for that productive action. Others can quit fishing and fish consumption.

There are facts about the tons of plastic floating in our waterways that may be underreported.

First, those piles are mostly made of abandoned fishing equipment, which means many anglers are undisciplined slobs.

Microplastics make up only 8 percent of the total tonnage of garbage in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (between Hawaii and California), while fishing nets account for 46 percent. The rest is other fishing gear, and debris from the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, according to National Geographic.

Banning things such as single-use plastic bags and straws feels productive, but it’s not the best way to stop plastic pollution of our oceans. We need fishermen to stop treating our oceans like trash cans.

And developing countries must do a better job of putting trash in landfills and converting plastics to energy, according to the Ocean Conservancy.

Priscilla Feral

The writer is president of the Darien-based Friends Friends of Animals.

Trump admin to expand hunting access on public lands


  • Order aims to allow broader access to public lands to hunters, fishers
  • Interior Department says Obama administration was too restrictive

Washington (CNN)Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order Friday morning aiming to expand access for hunters and fishers to public lands and monuments.

In what is being described as an “expansive” secretarial order, Zinke’s rule would ultimately allow broader access across the board to hunters and fishers on public lands managed by the Interior Department, according to the order.
A section of the order also amends the national monument management plan to include or expand hunting and fishing opportunities to the “extent practicable under the law.”
The order cites a 2007 executive order from President George W. Bush to “facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.” It directs agencies to to create a report and plan to streamline how best to enhance and expand access to hunting and fishing on public lands.
The Interior Department oversees national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands.
The secretarial order also aims to expand educational outreach for hunting and fishing to “under served” communities such as minorities and veterans as well as increase volunteer access to federal lands.
“Today’s secretarial order is the latest example of how the Trump administration is actively moving to support hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands,” Zinke said in a statement.
“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” he said.
Interior said Obama administration policies were too restrictive.
“Through management plans made under the previous administration, which did not appreciate access to hunting and target shooting like this administration does, access and usage has been restricted,” said Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift.
Zinke’s rule will not have to go through a formal rule-making process.
It is the second major action from Interior in the last few weeks.
In August, Zinke recommended shrinking the boundaries of a handful of national monuments, but stopped short of suggesting the elimination of any federal designations following a review ordered by President Donald Trump.
At Trump’s direction, Zinke earlier this year launched a review of 27 national monuments, a controversial move that could undo protections for millions of acres of federal lands, as well as limits on oil and gas or other energy production. Interior and the White House have so far resisted releasing the contents of Zinke’s full recommendations.
However some groups are arguing that the new order is a “stunt” by the department, aimed at moving the dialogue away from other recent controversial actions they’ve taken — including recommending the shrinking of national monuments and supporting increased fracking and logging.
“The real story is that, with this announcement, the Trump administration is trying to create a distraction from their plans to dramatically reduce the size of America’s national monuments, which would be the largest elimination of protections on wildlife habitat in US history,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.
He added that according to the Congressional Research Service, every national monument “that the Trump administration claims to be opening to hunting and recreational fishing is already open to hunting and recreational fishing.”
Drew McConville, a senior managing director at the Wilderness Society, called the order a “red herring.”
“This issue is … completely unnecessary, since national monuments are typically open to hunting and fishing already,” McConville said. “The Trump administration ‘review’ of places protected as national monuments is nothing more than an excuse to sell out America’s most treasured public lands for commercial gain by oil, gas and other extractive industries. This agenda inherently means a loss of access to premier places for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pastimes.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Hunting And Fishing Revival



Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's Hunting And Fishing Revival

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is leading a revival. It’s not the kind that occurs under a big tent full of folding chairs, fiery sermons, and hallelujahs, but the kind that occurs when hunters, fishermen, and outdoorsmen in general feel liberated from the shackles of an overbearing federal government; when they experience anew the freedom to take their guns and gear into America’s wild places and fish and hunt the way their fathers and grandfathers fished and hunted before them.

Zinke set the tone for this revival on his first day as Interior Secretary. He did so by repealing the Obama administration’s lead ammunition ban—a ban which served as a last slap in the face to hunters and fishermen everywhere.

The Obama-era ban was contained in National Fish and Wildlife Service’s Director’s Order 219. The order came from Director Dan Ashe and required regional directors to work with state-level agencies to begin phasing out the use of lead ammunition on federal land. This included requiring the “Assistant Director, Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and individual states, … [to] establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.”

The Obama administration avoided calling the order an all-out ban by fashioning it so that its implementation occurred over a period of time rather than all at once.

On March 3, 2017, Breitbart News reported that Zinke had repealed the ban and that the repeal was one of his first actions as interior secretary.

The reason Zinke made this one of his top priorities upon taking office is that he understands that hunters and fishermen are a crucial part of wildlife conservation: They preserve a balance in nature whereby fish and wildlife are kept at sustainable levels, rather than being able to overpopulate and ruin food supplies and habitat. And he also understands that hunters and fishermen bring a tremendous amount of money into the U.S. economy annually.

On Sept. 1, 2017, Fox News published a column by NRA-ILA’s Chris W. Cox, in which Cox observed:

Zinke knows that America’s hunters and anglers are the backbone of successful fish and wildlife management in the United States. In 2016 alone, $1.1 billion in hunter and angler excise revenues was invested by the 50 state fish and wildlife agencies to fund wildlife projects benefiting all wildlife—game and non-game species alike.

Crucially, Zinke also acknowledges the role hunting and fishing play as traditions in America. For example, a childhood in a state like Kentucky is marked by the time a son and his father spend getting ready for hunting season. They plan the hunt, tend the food plot, build the tree stand, study the movement and habits of the deer, then go out on opening day intent on bringing home food the family can eat and stories the father and son will share for the rest of their lives.

Cox put it this way:

[Zinke] also understands … within our own local communities, hunting and angling is an important tradition that’s often passed down through the generations and enjoyed by the entire family, helping to forge lifelong support of wildlife conservation and the full appreciation of our fish and wildlife resources.

In short, Zinke’s convictions about the importance of hunting and fishing mean more opportunities for outdoorsmen. This is seen via announcements like the Department of the Interior’s Aug. 9, 2017, announcement that Secretary Zinke was expanding “hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife preserves.”

This expansion will result in responsible conservation practices, money for the U.S. economy and traditions that link generations together over time.

Fisherman dies from gun shot wound after getting caught in a bear trap

By The Siberian Times reporter
12 September 2017

47 year old man killed after investigating a barrel which was a lethal makeshift trap with firearm attached.

A makeshift trap with a gun attached

The fisherman and a friend had stopped their car 80 kilometres from their village of Magistralny in Irkutsk region.

One of the friends walked into the forest and evidently checked out a makeshift trap with a gun attached.

He looked inside the barrel where there was bait for bears, and disturbed the trap sufficiently for the gun to shoot. He died on the spot, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.

His friend heard the shot and rushed to find the man.

The man loaded his friends body into the boot of his  VAZ-2121 car and drove back to the village which is 470 kilometres northeast of the village.

Fisherman dies from gun shot wound after getting caught in a bear trap

Fisherman dies from gun shot wound after getting caught in a bear trap

The probe continues to find the owner of the gun, and builder of the trap

Pictures of the trap with the man’s blood were released by police. Investigators say neither man owned the gun which shot the man.

The probe continues to find the owner of the gun, and builder of the trap.

The area is known to be full of wild bears.

Island Nation Burns Boats to Deter Illegal Fishing

The president of Palau decries those who are “raping our marine environment.”

3 / 

Petition to cancel a show that glorifies killing sharks

NBC @NBCSN : Cancel #SharkHunters #sharks

Andrew Mills
Carmel, Indiana

The NBC Sports show Shark Hunters glorifies and promotes the killing of sharks, amazing animals already under pressure from overfishing, finning and environmental pollution. And all three of the species hunted on Shark Hunters are listed as “Vulnerable” by The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

The show features three tournaments that give financial prizes for bringing in dead sharks from 3 species: mako, thresher and porbeagle. NBC should not be glamorizing the killing of vulnerable sharks under the pretense of “sport” or “sustainable fishing”.

Programs like this not only glamorize shark hunting and killing but also make the whole action “OK”. Sharks play an important role in our oceans and if we continue to hunt them, our ocean’ss health will continue to decline.

Change.org petitions have successfully convinced other channels, like National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, to cancel other violent hunting shows. I’m sure with enough signatures, we can get NBC to listen.

Please join me in asking NBC and it partners to cancel Shark Hunters!

Fisherman charged for underwater assault on scuba diver

Jul 31, 2014 http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/26168287/fisherman-charged-for-underwater-assault-on-scuba-diver

 KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) –

Charges have now been filed in the scuba scuffle caught on tape in the waters off Kona.

Hawaii County Prosecutors have charged fisherman Jay Lovell with terroristic threatening in the second degree. He is accused of ripping the regulator out of Rene Umberger’s mouth eliminating her ability to breathe.

Lovell was collecting reef fish last May for the aquarium trade. Umberger is an environmentalist against the practice and says the incident isn’t stopping her from documenting aquarium fishermen.

“Violence is never appropriate but also people who are out there trying to expose and document the destructive practices on the reefs aren’t going to be intimidated by this kind of activity. Stooping to violence only hurts the cause it doesn’t help their cause,” said Rene Umberger, Reef Consultant and Diver.

The incident stirred debate around the country. Umberger says it helped people learn that aquarium fish do not always come from farms and has bolstered support against the trade.

Meanwhile Jay Lovell’s brother says he will fight the charges.

“Jay is actually looking forward to the court so all the facts of the case can actually come out. The fact that these people are targeting the industry, they’ve been threatening for over a year,” said Jim Lovell, Jay’s brother, who is also a reef fisherman. “They provoked us, they caused it, it’s on their table. It’s on their agenda and this is what they want to do.”

Jay Lovell’s court date on the misdemeanor charge is September 2nd.


Poachers and Pedophiles are Like Apples and Oranges

Comparing poachers to pedophiles may seem like comparing apples and oranges; but like the two fruits, there are more similarities than differences. Both apples and oranges are round, grow on trees, have a skin, contain seeds, are about the same size, etc. By the same token, the poacher and the pedophile both engage in socially unacceptable or illegal behavior for self-serving purposes, without regard for their victims. 

Likewise, the catch and release fisherman can be compared to the serial rapist: both put their pleasures over the suffering of their targets. The more their prey struggles, the more exciting the event for the perpetrator. Only when the victim has been completely conquered and has lost all will to fight are they set free, the vanquisher having no more use for them. 

And the analogy between a trophy hunter and a serial killer has been well established: both are single-minded in their quest for the kill, placing their own perverse desires above the self-interests—indeed, the very lives—of their victims. Both perpetrators like to take souvenirs from their kills, and neither one cares what the rest of the world thinks of their actions.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Oregon Officials Execute Fifteen Sea Lions at the Bonneville Dam

May 15, 2014

Dozens More Could be Killed in 2014

[Just a few days ago, the sport fishing season was extended for an entire month.]


Commentary By Sandy McElhaney, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The once “mighty” Columbia River is now a toxic chemical soupThe once “mighty” Columbia River is now a toxic chemical soup
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Sandy McElhaney
April 2014 was a record-setting month at the Bonneville Dam. On April 30th, 17,972 salmon passed through the Dam’s fish ladders. This was the third-highest single-day fish count at the Dam since 2002. With current projections of a salmon run size of 185,000, state officials are now adding days to the sport fishery season. There is, however, a catch. If you want to sport fish for salmon on the Columbia River, you must be human. If you are a California sea lion caught fishing near the Bonneville Dam, you will be killed.

April 2014 also has the dishonorable distinction of being the deadliest month on record for California sea lions along the Columbia River. On three consecutive Tuesdays, state workers mercilessly killed twelve sea lions because they had the audacity to eat salmon near the Bonneville Dam. The killing spree began on Tuesday, April 15. On that date, six sea lions were executed. One week later, on April 22, state workers lethally injected three more sea lions. On April 29, three more lives were extinguished. Sadly, the month of May began just as ominously as April ended, with another three sea lions killed on the first day of the month, bringing the death toll for the year up to 15 — so far. Authorization from the federal government to the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho, allows these states to put to death as many as 92 sea lions annually through 2016, simply for eating salmon near the Bonneville Dam.

The kill notices are posted on the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) website. The first notice of 2014 read simply, “Six California sea lions, on the list for removal, were trapped and euthanized at Bonneville Dam today.” That was it. Just 17 dispassionate words were used to sum up the tragic and senseless end to the lives of six individuals who were once a vital part of the ecosystem of the Columbia River. A mandated report from the state of Oregon to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS is the federal entity that authorized the killings in 2012) further stated that “various biological samples were collected for examination and the remaining materials were disposed of in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.” If the sea lion executioners are still following the same practices used when they killed their first victim (branded by Oregon as C265) in 2009, then the skeletons of these poor animals will be articulated and used for research and their flesh sent off to Darling International Rendering Plant in Tacoma, Washington, where they could eventually become fertilizer.

Five of the sea lions killed on April 15 were among those “championed” by Sea Shepherd supporters in 2013 so they could be remembered by name as unique individuals, instead of being known only by the hideous brands on their backs. Their names and their champions are as follows:

Number Champion Name
C027 Frances Holtman Oceanus
C028 Graziella Garri Proteus
C035 Stephan Oelgardt Thery
U254 Brian Lochlaer Barack Obama
U262 Elke Simmons Ahimsa

Photo: Sea Shepherd / Be Bosworth-Cooper
Also killed was U84, who died nameless, but whose image was forever captured on film by Dam Guardian Be Bosworth-Cooper at the Port of Astoria. Several of the now slain animals were branded at the Port in 2013. This charming waterfront town was made famous by the 1985 movie, “The Goonies,” but today it is best known for its ongoing cruelty to sea lions. Tourists and other visitors to the Port are often alarmed to see workers from ODFW “haze” resting sea lions with nowhere to go off of the “goondocks”. Periodically, sea lions are trapped in cages and forcibly branded with hot irons. Sea Shepherd’s Dam Guardians documented this barbaric practice on multiple occasions in 2012 and 2013. Our footage shows state employee Matthew Tennis standing on, kicking and setting sea lions on fire. These findings were shared with NMFS and Sea Shepherd was informed in writing by the agency that Tennis would henceforth be supervised when capturing and “marking” (branding) sea lions.

An update posted to the ODFW website dated Tuesday April 22 reported, “Seven California sea lions were trapped. Three were on the list for removal and were euthanized. Four were branded and released.” The three sea lions killed were those branded with the numbers C020 (“Dewey,” championed by Allison Cabellon), C029 (“Rocky,” championed by Benjamin Bell), and C930 (“Cesare,” championed by Selena Rhodes Scofield). Three more sea lions were reported to have been euthanized on Tuesday, April 29: C033, U267 and U312. On May 1, the state killed sea lions C031, U264 and B409.

Conveniently, the six sea lions killed on April 29 and May 1 were added to the official NOAA-authorized “hit list” on April 28, 2014, along with five others who are now literally marked for death. Sea lion U312 was killed because he was “observed at the dam on 7 days in 2014 with 2 documented salmonids consumed.” News of his death comes as an especially harsh emotional blow to Sea Shepherd’s Dam Guardians, who witnessed and documented his cruel branding by Oregon state workers in Astoria on March 24, 2013.

The ODFW website talks about California sea lion “management” and “restoring the balance between predators and salmon”. The most recent report from the Army Corps of Engineers claims that California sea lions have consumed 222 salmon at the Bonneville Dam since January; meanwhile, The Seattle Times reported that recreational anglers had landed and kept 9,358 Chinook from March 1-April 14. The state’s concept of “management” is, at best, draconian; at worst it is a display of total ignorance of the real problems in the Columbia River, and the efforts by real conservationists who care deeply about preserving the river, the salmon and the sea lions.

With our history of defending, conserving and protecting marine wildlife and habitats spanning 37 years, Sea Shepherd knows that the real predators are not the sea lions. The real predators are the people who have desecrated one of our nation’s great and beautiful rivers by flushing it with 92 contaminants which have been found in Columbia River fish, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, furans, arsenic, dieldrin, mercury, and DDE – a breakdown product of DDT. The Oregon Environmental Council has classified the Columbia River as being on “Red Alert,” meaning it has serious water quality problems, including toxins that are dangerous to both human and aquatic health. A 2012 study by the Columbia Riverkeepers found PCB concentrations in fish to be 27,000% above levels considered by the EPA to be safe for unrestricted human consumption. So while ODFW is wasting your taxpayer dollars to brand, haze and kill sea lions, the salmon are still swimming in a cesspool of cancer-causing poisons.

As a cancer survivor, I would encourage anyone I care about to avoid consuming toxic fish from the Columbia, and as a Sea Shepherd Dam Guardian I encourage everyone to call upon the governors of Oregon and Washington to immediately redirect their efforts away from killing sea lions and toward restoring the health of the water – before it’s too late.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
State Capitol Building
900 Court Street Salem, OR  97301
phone: (503) 378-4582 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (503) 378-4582 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax:  (503) 378-6827
Internet: Request Assistance
Facebook: John Kitzhaber
twitter: @govkitz

Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA  98504-0002
phone: (360) 902-4111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (360) 902-4111 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax:  360-753-4110
Internet: Contact Gov. Inslee
Facebook: Governer Inslee
twitter: @govInslee

Our friends at the Humane Society of the United States, who have long championed the Columbia River sea lions in court, have letters for you to send to the governors at this link: Humane Society – Six Sea Lions Killed at Bonneville Dam

Our friends at the Sea Lion Defense Brigade are leading the ground campaign along the Columbia this season. To join them on the ground, please contact: sealiondefensebrigade@gmail.com. The Sea Lion Defense Brigade is asking concerned citizens to contact NOAA and to urge the agency to cancel the states’ authorization to kill sea lions. Up to 77 more sea lions could be killed in 2014. Please contact NOAA using the contact information below and ask them to grant clemency to these marine mammals who simply eat salmon to survive:

Donna Wieting
Director, Office of Protected Resources
Phone 301 713-2332 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 301 713-2332 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax 301 427-2520
Email: donna.wieting@noaa.gov
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring MD 20910

500 Sport Fishermen At Bonneville Dam, Only 38 Sea Lions

From Sea Lion Defense Brigade:
Bonneville Dam – The Army Corps of Engineers reports they have viewed 38 California Sea Lions in the area. Today there are an estimated 500 fishermen on the surrounding banks.

It is obvious which species is overfishing. Yet, scapegoating continues and fishermen are actively hazing Sea Lions by throwing large rocks at their heads! While documenting this cruelty, 2 SLDB female observers were threatened with bodily harm.

There is no government agency checking fishing licenses or regulating catch limits today. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can employee 6 workers to brand and KILL Sea Lions with tax payers money but can’t check fishing limits?!

Humans have many food options, Sea Lions do not!

Until the states of Washington and Oregon take responsibility for the real causes of the salmon decline and stop politically scapegoating Sea Lions, BOYCOTT COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON! See More

Photo: Bonneville Dam - The Army Corps of Engineers reports they have viewed 38 California Sea Lions in the area. Today there are an estimated 500 fishermen on the surrounding banks.

It is obvious which species is overfishing. Yet, scapegoating continues and fishermen are actively hazing Sea Lions by throwing large rocks at their heads! While documenting this cruelty, 2 SLDB female observers were threatened with bodily harm.

There is no government agency checking fishing licenses or regulating catch limits today. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can employee 6 workers to brand and KILL Sea Lions with tax payers money but can't check fishing limits?! 

Humans have many food options, Sea Lions do not! 

Until the states of Washington and Oregon take responsibility for the real causes of the salmon decline and stop politically scapegoating Sea Lions, BOYCOTT COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON!