Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sustainability and choices



We went fishing on Sunday, with a small "party" boat of about 30 people. Bluefish were running and our party of six caught four. It was my son's birthday, and this is what he wanted to do. We had two adults, two thirteen year-olds and two ten year-olds. I didn't fish. Probably the only person on the boat who didn't. I baited everyone's hooks with smelly 18 cm herring--right through both eye sockets, down through the center of the fish and then throught the tail. Probably did it 25 times. I gutted and filleted the four fish. So it wasn't squeamishness that prevented me from fishing. It was that there are just so few fish in the sea. It's like catching the last bison, but we just can't see the devastation because the ocean is impervious to most of our eyes. At the end of the four hours of fishing the boat was covered in blood. Seventy fair sized bluefish will do that. They're aggressive fish, with sharp teeth, that have to be gaffed and don't die easily. They spill a lot of bright red blood. My moral compass didn't allow me to fish because we're so overfished. But I participated in all that killing neverthess, draiwng the line at actually throwing in the line. It doesn't feel to me like a weak line to draw, but it probably is. Should I have just refused to take my son fishing?
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