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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Catch'em n Eat'em, why not ?

In our politically correct world it is easy to define many causes that generally result in a divided populace. Look at Al Gore's global warming crusade and you find those that claim the sky is falling or should I say warming and those who offer scientific evidence to the contrary, although that evidence is often hard to find unless you really look for it. Thank the Almighty for the internet, or should I thank Al instead. Scientists on both sides of the issue lay claim to being right, thus one needs to look at all the facts, not just those that may be the politically correct soup du jour.

     Is earth really warming due to the negative influence of mankind, you bet says Al Gore and his minions, no way Hose' say plenty of credible weather climate scientists including the founder of the Weather Channel. Should we drill in Anwar, no says Al and the greens, yes say the majority of Alaskans and citizens like myself, especially when I am pumping $3.50 per gallon fuel. Do you not wonder who is right and who is wrong?

     As a Lake Ontario fishing charter captain, here is a topic that is close to my heart. Are Lake Ontario fish safe to eat? Ill bet you think you know the answer. Fish are bad, too much mercury, better not eat them, you might grow two heads. What is this mercury stuff anyway?  It is called methyl mercury and when mercury enters water, most often due to natural occurrences such as underwater volcanoes, certain bacteria convert it to what is called methyl mercury. It enters the food chain as fish eat their meals at their favorite underwater cafe. It is believed that fish have always contained traces of methyl mercury.

     One of the most frequent questions I am asked while on my charter fishing boat is, can I eat the fish?   Basically, I tell my clients that it is their choice, however I will also try to inform them of some things I have discovered regarding the mercury scare.  I will say this; before you bite into a grilled sword fish steak or a tasty king salmon fillet, read on and consider the following: 
NYS has published fish consumption warnings based on data which places a great deal of emphasis on mercury levels in fish such as salmon. For years we have been told that mercury ingested into our systems via food might be harmful to our health. What we have not been told is that the guidelines have a huge built-in safeguard level and that current levels in fish such as tuna are well under EPA safety standards. In effect, the EPA has purposely created a huge buffer zone between what they believe would be acceptable exposure and what they actually tell us. 

         While there are NYS published warnings regarding  Lake Ontario fish consumption it now seems that perhaps these advisories are not solely based on science but rather those who follow the activism mantra such as those who are opposed to fishing.  The US EPA mercury reference dose is the most restrictive in the world. In fact it is 4.7 times higher than that of the World Health Organization. How come?    

I find it interesting that some scientists say that mercury levels have remained the same or even decreased over the last 100 years. A team of researchers from Duke University compared 21 specimens of Atlantic Blue Hake preserved in the 1880s with 66 Hake samples from the 1970s. They found no change at all in the concentration of mercury. In another study conducted by Princeton scientists, samples of yellow fin tuna from 1971 were compared with samples from 1998. Guess what? The 1998 samples contained less mercury. Bet you didnt know that. Neither did I until I logged on to a very informative web site, Check this out and you will learn the other side of the story in eye-opening detail.

         This site will explain how fish rich in Selenium, such as salmon, diminish even further any concerns about mercury. Studies reveal that eating selenium rich fish and thus gaining the heart healthy benefits of Omega III acids found in fish far outweigh any consequences that some activists say might occur if you eat fish such as salmon. Why does that not surprise me?

    The choice is yours. I for one am not concerned about eating Lake Ontario fish. Do what you want, however, after learning the findings of qualified research scientists, I say enjoy eating fish. It is good for you.

Now that you know you can catch and eat, look for my next blog which talks about catch and release as opposed to catch and keep. I consider the subject another politically correct issue. This will be a good one.

Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 10:35:55 AM


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