So this week on the World Fishing Network an episode of The Joy of Fishing is all about the sturgeon.
The show opens with programme regulars and biologists tracking and capturing what i think they said were Green Sturgeon, a threatened species in the US and Canada.
Fine, great to see something different on a "fishing show" that actually talks about conservation. This "good feeling" didn't last long as what was about to unfold still has me shaking my head.
Ten minutes or so later the the show switches to a cooking segment where they are cooking STURGEON STEAKS!!!!! I was flabbergasted and didn't know whether to laugh or cry!!! It was like a horrible punchline to a sick joke! I thought I was watching Family Guy or The Twilight Zone or looking at a The Far Side cartoon
"It's a real meaty fish, that's why I like sturgeon" they gloated, as they dip the thick fillets in hot oil.
They were White Sturgeon steaks ( I am praying to jesus), a species that is listed as endangered in some Oregon waters and whose general population in the western US is under intense pressure from overfishing, poaching, degraded spawning areas and dams, like those on the Columbia. Some areas do hold fishable populations but they too are under these same pressures.
They may as well as been frying up Dodo steaks or Passenger Pigeon breasts as far as I am concerned. This is why we have a thing called a Big Mac to eat so we don't have to go out an wreak havoc on a dwindling species for food.
In 15 or 20 years people will look back at this programme with a sense of horror the same way we do today watching whales getting harpooned.
The programme ended with a guy fighting a massive white sturgeon to the boat that I am sure took over an hour but they showed us the fight in 2 minutes of course. It was a disgusting dark comedy of errors as the Skipper and Gilligan wrestled with the gentle giant to the boat... again and again. The guy fighting the 6 foot behemoth had no clue how to hold a rod and it finally snapped.
Fish mortality rates have been a hot topic here at OFF of late and I am sure that this fish did not survive being treated like a bag of garbage.
I sent the show an email sharing my low opinion.
Just because it swims in "our" waters does not give us the right to put further stress and pressure on a great fish like these ancient giants that will one day be gone. This is the problem with "fishing shows", all flash, no redeeming qualities and in the end the fishery suffers as it sends out the wrong message.
The Joy of Fishing brings me no joy.
... and that, my friends, is my two cents worth.