Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

As Urban Fishing Catches on, People Care More about Pollution

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

As Urban Fishing Catches on, People Care More about Pollution

Article excerpt

ANS--Ethan Rotman of the California Department of Fish and Game has found a way to dramatically increase the concern of Oakland, Calif., citizens about their polluted lakes and streams--he's got them hooked on fishing.

"If I had known how effective fishing would be in hooking people into environmental issues, I would have done it years ago," said Rotman, the San Francisco Bay-area coordinator of Fishing in the City, a program to teach people how to fish and protect the health of urban waterways.

Rotman says asking the average Oakland resident to worry about preserving a mountain salmon run is a remote proposition, but when people learn how to fish in their backyard their interest in keeping the fish healthy and the water clean soars.

He has formed coalitions of teachers, service clubs, tackle shops and other public and private agencies to provide a three-step educational program organized around fishing.

Interested teachers are given 20 hours of training in watershed issues. In turn, they pick a local stream or pond to study with their students, who are taught how to test pollution levels by studying what bugs survive in the water.

Next, members of a service club like Rotary International go into the classroom to teach Fishing 101, Student anglers are taught safety and ethics as well as how to tie a knot. rig a line and cast. And they get a tackle box and bait to keep. "Rods and reels may be borrowed for free from neighborhood sponsors who keep a stash of gear near the fishing hole. …

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