The pond I frequently walk around feeds into a river that people come to fish in. Some sit on the pond side, others on the river side.
I pass them and say hello, and occasionally will see a fish in one of their pails. I have asked some of the people fishing if they eat what they catch and the answer is always yes. I have mentioned that I thought the river was polluted, but no one seemed bothered by it. Recently I read in a local paper that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency said that after a recent study it has seen evidence of pollution posing potential harm to human health and the environment and found elevated levels of cadmium, lead, mercury, cancer-causing dioxin and PCBs, and other contaminants in the sediment of the river.
I am a lover of nature and animals, but I am not a vegetarian, I eat chicken and fish and never really think about how it ended up in the package I pick up at the store. I view it as just a part of the cycle of life, it is what it is. I had also never really thought about what it really means to “go fishing” or what was really going on as the people I pass sit patiently with their rods, until this morning.
I passed a man who had set up fishing poles in 2 locations, the rods set into a stand so he would not have to stand there waiting and watching. As I passed one I noticed it bending and moving and mentioned it to him. I watched as he reeled in the line, only to see to my horror and enormous Carp, caught on the line, flailing and struggling as he was pulled out of the water.
My reaction: I burst into tears.
The poor fish was suffocating I realized- and for what? So he could be this man’s lunch? Instead of continuing on his journey in that (poison filled) river minding his own business, where he should be. Needless to say the man was more than a little shocked at my reaction and I quickly turned and walked away- not being able to rid my mind of the image I had just seen.
Better not to know how the Salmon I ate for dinner last night came to rest on my plate, or where those chicken cutlets lived before they entered my refrigerator. Ignorance is bliss I suppose, and fishing is certainly not a hobby to be taken up by me!