Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 33

August 15-21, 2002

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Fisherman’s Eating Habits Surveyed

Earlier this year, when the Maryland Department of the Environment issued health advisories cautioning people to limit their intake of 13 recreationally caught species from 14 tidal waterways throughout the state, it gave anglers pause. After all, for many of us, an important part of the experience is enjoying the catch. For subsistence fishers, it is more elemental — they need the fish to supplement food supplies.

To help get more accurate fish consumption estimates and inform the public about toxic fish advisories and what they mean to their health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Department of the Environment are surveying 3,000 licensed anglers randomly selected from a Department of Natural Resources list.

The survey was announced by Johns Hopkins and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, two of several groups concerned that the public needs more knowledge about the advisories. Fishermen are asked where and how often they fish, plus they are asked specific questions about how much they eat, how they prepare their catch and if they are aware of the advisories. Later this month, the research team plans to interview urban anglers at the water’s edge to learn more about what they catch and eat.

Dr. Ellen Silbergeld, the study’s lead investigator and an environmental health professor at Hopkins, said she believes the study will help health experts gain crucial insight concerning the effectiveness of advisories effectiveness and how best to get out the message to the public.

Other agencies and groups concerned about human health and the environment are on board with the project as well, including the Chesapeake Bay Program, NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office, the Chesapeake Research Consortium and Americorps. So if you receive a survey in the mail, take a few minutes to fill it out and send it back as soon as you can. We can’t understand what we don’t know.

Fish Are Biting
The big money winner in the 29th Annual White Marlin Open was Dave Warren, taking home $870,150. Although his 76-pound white marlin earned him third place in that division, Warren banked the most cash because he entered all levels. Bob Hughes, aboard Anita, took first in the white marlin division with a 78-pounder worth $230,800. The truly amazing statistic was that of 1,065 white marlin caught over the five-day tournament, only 23 were killed outright for the scales. Thirty-two blue marlin were caught and 27 were released.

In the Bay, Jim Sweet from Anglers reports sea trout action at night off points and bars below the Bay Bridge. Below Chesapeake Beach, there are schools of breaking bluefish and rockfish with some Spanish mackerel thrown in. Charter Captain Mark Galasso said chumming was slow but breaking fish, albeit on the small side, broke the boredom. DNR reports that spot have been caught at the mouth of the Choptank, Thomas Point Light and Hacketts.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly