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Hooking youth: Fishing is a pathway to nature for America's children

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  • Hooking youth: Fishing is a pathway to nature for America's children

    Hooking youth: Fishing is a pathway to nature for America's children

    http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2007/jun/06/commentary-hooking-youth/
    http://tinyurl.com/2pcycu

    Mamie Parker
    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    Waters, long-coursed downstream, press on me still.

    The lunges of memorable fish linger in the eddies of my mind. Bright waters beckon this private vice of mine, fishing.

    And my recollections, no matter how old, always have the tenor of springtime, when all things are new.

    Fishing fixes me to places where I really feel alive. As a young girl and even today the experience carries a vestige of adventure and wildness - an escape from the artifices of man.

    As I reflect on National Fishing and Boating Week, which is this week, it pains me some children don't experience nature as I have.

    A recent book by Richard Louv, called "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," has brought into the national dialogue the condition of today's children and in particular their poverty of outdoors experiences.

    Electric cords tether them to the indoors while diabetes and obesity have soared, Louv reports. Increasingly they suffer from ADHD; they're shuttled to and from pre-planned events, with little chance for spontaneous and creative play.

    Think about this: you don't see many children playing outside anymore. It's a simple observation, but telling. The dearth of youthful experience in nature makes us all the poorer.

    Recent scientific research at Cornell University reports what I instinctively know. The Cornell study of 2,000 adults by professors Nancy Wells and Kristi Lekies revealed in the journal, Children, Youth and Environments, that kids who fish and have unstructured time outdoors grow into adults who care more about conservation and the environment.

    The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service intends to enrich lives with introductions to nature. During this week of observing fishing and boating, most of our 70 National Fish Hatcheries across the nation invite thousands of children and adults to fishing derbies at hatcheries or on waters supported by fish from our hatcheries.

    But we're going to do one better.

    Congress gave the service a charge in the National Fish Hatchery Volunteer Act of 2006, requiring us to create educational guidelines and make use of our hatcheries and fisheries field stations across the nation as outdoor classrooms.

    In October, Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Kentucky launches the first environmental education curricula with training sessions for staff, volunteers and teachers from local schools public and private.

    Curricula standards will follow national guidelines and relate to those of the local schools, providing the chance for students to increase their science literacy and their awareness of nature with personal hands-on experience with fish and their habitats.

    It's my ardent hope we touch the lives of youth by planting a germ of an idea that nature matters, that conservation matters.

    Our work with the state fish and game agencies and conservation groups matters - not just for conservation, but for people.

    In July, the copper-colored Gila trout in the southwest New Mexico will be open to fishing for the first time since the 1950s. Witness also our work restoring lake trout in the Great Lakes, at the same time monitoring a novel but serious fish disease called viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

    Developments we've made in fish nutrition help steelhead on the West Coast and Atlantic salmon in the northeast. It falls upon our scientists to marshal the rigorous research necessary to have the Food and Drug Administration approve new aquatic animal drugs for the good of conservation, commerce and people.

    Fishing surely has its values, intrinsic and otherwise. The sport has produced an enduring body of literature. This favorite of American pastimes supports commerce and creates livelihoods for people; the welfare of people and families depend on quality fishing. And for youth, fishing is an entr toward feeding their innate curiosity about nature.

    This is circuitous, like a lazy oxbow river turns back toward itself: healthy habitats mean healthy fish, healthy economies and healthy people.

    We need young people in the circle; we need them outdoors where nature will nurture them as they grow - and they'll grow to nurture nature.

    Fishing is surely a way there.

    --
    Parker is the assistant director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C. She is an avid angler and member of the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame.

  • #2
    Fishing is animal abuse. Fishfeel.org

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SueVerner View Post
      Fishing is animal abuse. Fishfeel.org
      Well, if you eat the fish it is like hunting or more specifically trapping. You may have a point with catch and release. It has never really interested me, but I don't like to eat fish.

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      • #4
        Fish don't have the nervous system to truly feel the way we do. Ever look at a fish brain? It's tiny.

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        • #5
          Perdidochas, do a bit more research and you'll discover that fish do, in fact, have advanced nervous systems. They feel pain. They can learn, and they have long-term memory. Size of brain is not as important as what that brain can do. My brain is approximately 5 times larger than an infant human's brain, but you wouldn't say that a baby can't feel or learn. My brain is approximately 1/6 the size of a sperm whale's brain but we both can do a good bit with them, and we both have nervous systems that transmit the idea of pain - as do fishes's brains.

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          • #6
            The fish that I caught three times in a row in a period of an hour must not have had long term memory.

            They don't have the same brain to process what the pain means that we do. Fish are food.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by perdidochas View Post
              The fish that I caught three times in a row in a period of an hour must not have had long term memory.

              They don't have the same brain to process what the pain means that we do. Fish are food.
              Because, after all, none of us have ever had a friend who would return to the same watering hole of pain and abuse time after time.

              I don't whitewash it with my kids. The bait feels pain, the fish feels pain, any nerve-bearing beast conceived feels pain.

              But, there is a difference between pain and cruelty. Fishing teaches us to be less cruel.

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              • #8
                "Fish are food." And the tiger says, "People are food" and isn't at all interested in whether or not you feel pain because he must kill to eat. It's good that people are able to make ethical choices not to inflict unnecessary pain on anyone - I wish we would make that choice more often.

                Qwazse, how does fishing teach us to be less cruel? I've seen plenty of fishing - it always looks cruel to me. You torture a worm or cricket or frog when you use him/her as bait; you torture the fish by hooking his mouth; when you catch to eat, you torture the fish by threading a string through his gills or leaving him to flop on the creek bank, slowly suffocating; even when you catch-and-release you torture the fish by hooking his mouth and then twisting the hook back out again. Where's the compassion in any of this?

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                • #9
                  Reality check time!

                  I take it one isn't aware of commercial fishing? Netted and left to suffocate.

                  Or the extermination industry? Sticky traps?

                  Hog, turkey, or chicken confinement procedures? Never see the light of day... ever.

                  Insecticides on your lawn? Kills grubs so the moles starve to death.

                  Rat poison? Thins their blood and when they cut themselves, usually something they eat, they slowly bleed to death.

                  The best story I know is in my hometown. Bear was out on the edge of town when people saw it first. They started chasing it and it fled into town. Crowd got bigger and bigger and bear in a panic went up a tree in a city park near where the children were playing. It was determined to be a threat to the huge crowd that had gathered especially the children playing there. The police shot it out of the tree and dragged it off in front of all those kids. The tranquilizer gun at the human society was just a few blocks away.

                  What about those animals confined in the zoos? Ever pay to go see them and contribute to their confinement?

                  Everyone has their pet cause they promote. Unfortunately not many people really change their behavior. People will continue to hunt and fish just like they have since before recorded history.

                  Stosh


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                  • #10
                    Sue,

                    Why keep posting? You're not going to change my mind, I'm not going to change yours. I hope that you are a vegan, otherwise you are a hypocrite. That said, even as a vegan, how do you feel you have a right to have that vegetable matter you eat over any other living creature....

                    I will keep fishing, you can keep eating veggies out of the mouths of poor caterpillars and assorted other creatures.

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                    • #11
                      Hmmm, this gal never met my Grandmother. I remember back on the farm when it was time to fix Sunday dinner...? Two nails in a stump. Grab a chicken in one hand and an ax in the other. Make the connection and put the chicken on the ground so that the kids can enjoy it running around. Kids have fun, the chickens dead, can't feel pain and dinner will be served up as soon as the chicken stops running and Grandma can pluck it, dress it and cook it.

                      I can't remember back when humans were not omnivores but it's pretty irrelevant today.

                      Stosh

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                      • #12
                        I don't believe that compassion is irrelevant; sorry you do, Stosh. And I do not eat animals, visit zoos or aquaria, use poisons for rats or anyone else (ants, termites, etc.), or wear leather. I don't have any idea why you, JBlake,think that I (or "one," as you write) am not aware of other suffering of other animals - I'm very aware and dedicate a good chunk of each day making others aware. And Perdidochas, I keep posting for the same reason you do - because we all keep posting about what concerns us. Your mind may not be open, but others' minds might be.

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