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response to the WSJ article on Bassing Japan

Please forward my letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal to the
group.....Front page story on March 23rd on Japanese Bass fishermen....

To the Editor of the Wall Street Journal,

I would like to take a moment to comment on the article of
March 23rd about the Japanese's new fascination with Bass
Fishing in their home waters. First off let me say I am not
anti fishing or anti hunting, nor am I some left winged
environmental wacko. With that said let me tell you a bit
about who I am I am the President of NANFA ( North American
Native Fishes Association) an organization  dedicated to the
study, aquarium rearing and conservation of North American
Native Fishes. As part of our associations activities we
routinely publish papers and magazines, talk to kids, breed
and care for native fishes of all types and clean up rivers
and streams. We do this not for money but because we love
our native fishes. Housewives, aquarist, teachers , game
wardens and professors are all a part of our membership.
This diversity gives us a balanced approach and view of
ecology and fisheries issues.

What the Japanese have done is bad ecology, bad science and
in my opinion a decidedly dangerous form of emulation. We as
human beings have no control over what animals will or will
not do. They will survive often times in ways we had not
considered. The Bass in this case have thrived in Japan but
at what cost? How many unique species of fish have become
sushi to the super predatory Bass. Does any one know how
many species of fish will disappear forever because of this
Pandora's box they have opened ? Can they assure us it will
be only one, only ten , only one hundred ? Of course not.

The environmental damage done in this country by
intentionally introduced species like the carp, English
house sparrow, brown trout, starling...etc. has been
dramatic and permanent. Birds, fishes and native plants have
paid the cost . In the end it would have be far better for
all of us if we would have learned to live with the plants ,
fishes, birds and animals that are around us, instead of
giving in to this urge to control and change things. Sadly
people will, can and do choose to play God and introduce new
species into places they do not belong because they believe
that things were not  right the first time. Those people
steal from all of us, they steal a world that will be
forever changed in unforeseen ways. They steal our fishes,
our plants, our birds our heritage. For once a species is
replaced by an outside invader it can never be brought back.
I for one feel sorrow for the Japanese for in their zeal to
be like us they left a part of themselves behind. Only time
will tell how big a part.

Robert Rice

President NANFA

email   robertrice at juno_com