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DAVE WHITE: Enough with the waste

Dave White
Dave White - SaltWire Network

For some, environmental awareness and social responsibility hasn't really sunk in among individuals who seemingly care less or, are just generally careless and inadequately sensitive to realities of the modern age.

Even after costly springtime cleanups undertaken annually, people along both shores are yet wantonly discarding fast-food packaging along our highways, dumping household refuse on backcountry roads, or attempting to burn non-flammable personal garbage around our beaches and waterways.

Among the lagging litterers and other lazy louts are some commercial fishers who you'd think would have better sense because their livelihood depends on the sea, though barely so.

Meanwhile, as a social and economic generator, the open sea also offers a wide array of nautical nicety that includes personal and provisioned adventures on and in everything from ocean kayaks and waverunners, dories and speedboats to party pontoons, cabin cruisers and tour boats. Local and touristy flavours abound.

Certainly, inconsiderate inshore lobster harvesters have left evidence of their purposed passing upon the waters and beaches of the outer bay. Numerous cardboard bait boxes each lined with a detached sheet of transparent blue plastic are reportedly seen daily floating around lobster grounds, or washed up ashore. Not a pretty sight, and mainly because toxic plastic materials known to be hazardous to marine life and human health and safety ought not be abandoned at sea, or anywhere else for that matter.

Responsible fish harvesters transfer their baits to fish tubs before departure each day and leave the cardboard and plastic home for proper disposal later, or bring it back with them after their runs. Others obviously seem to find environmental stewardship too much of a chore and so pollute the waters that feed them without further thought.

With pictures to prove it, it's time such nautical naughtiness was stopped altogether. Area fishers, fisheries wardens and ordinary members of the Bay of Islands boating public need to step up against observed violators to make it so.

Thin plastics notwithstanding further mention, a couple of colourful lobster raised from the deeps and shoals of the bay by licensed fishers in recent weeks are also worthy of note. Could it be evolution, bait-box camouflage maybe?

Grant Park, a native McIvers fisher, reported catching his first blue-shelled crustacean in eight years of commercial fishing this month. Hauled in in first week of June, he said the legally undersized specimen pictured on his Facebook page was released amid a cluster of sunkers along a stretch of rocky coastline to carry on its lobster business mostly uninterrupted, somewhat hidden and protected from the reach of any poachers happening by, he suggested.

Just about a week later, Mark Hackett of Benoit's Cove was also reporting in social media of another unusual lobster caught in Bay of Islands, a legal specimen pictured exhibiting a blueish hue on its appendages and bearing big black and white polka dots on the rest of its predominantly yellow body armour. Also returned to the sea.

"She had such cool colours that we put a v-notch in her (tail, typically a conservation measure identifying a breeding female) and set her free," Hackett wrote in his Facebook post.

It is always good to see licensed fishers doing responsible things.

The Bay of Islands lobster fishery ends July 4.

Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 660-5712, or email at: bayofislands2008@gmail.com.

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