January 11, 2011

I Will Likely Alienate 85% of You With This Post

In looking at my Google Analytics stats for the full year 2010, there were a lot of interesting things to observe.  One of them is that only about 15% of my blog's traffic comes from the State of Pennsylvania.  (For those slow on the uptake, that happens to be the state in which I live).  As such, the post I'm about to write runs the risk of being a snoozer for most, but considering it involves my "home water", it...well...hits home.

The State of Pennsylvania has released its updated fish consumption advisories for 2011.  For the most part they have stayed the same as in years past, warning anglers not to eat more than a certain amount of fish due to unhealthy levels of mercury, PCBs, etc...

“Pennsylvania’s fish advisory message is consistent with the story being told throughout the country – eat fish, but choose wisely,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Pennsylvania’s waters offer a bounty of clean, safe fish for people to eat. The information provided in our advisory serves to guide consumers about their choices.”
The advisories are only for fish caught recreationally and do not apply to fish raised for commercial purposes or those bought in stores or restaurants.
“Consumption advisories are not intended to discourage anyone from fishing or eating fresh fish in moderation,” DEP Secretary John Hanger said. “However, at-risk groups and people who regularly eat sport fish are most susceptible to contaminants that can build up in fish over time and should space out fish meals according to these advisories, and in consultation with their physician.”

That's cool & works for me.  Until I read them.  Especially these two consumption advisories which struck me as quite odd; to quote:

One meal per month advisory has been issued for Corbicula (Asiatic Clam) in the Schuylkill River in Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. 
Asiatic Clams - A "no-no"

Brown Trout in Valley Creek in Chester County has been reduced to a one meal per month advisory 
A PCB laded Valley Brown

Why do these seem odd to me? Well if you check your Pennsylvania fishing regs for 2011, you'll find the following:

Mussels & Clam Season is deemed "Closed Year-Round"
Valley Creek is deemed "Catch & Release, All Tackle Only"

You catch that?  So you can't legally harvest Asiatic Clams from the Schuylkill or Brown Trout from Valley Creek to eat them in the first place...why bother with the consumption advisory?  I guess it's the state's responsibility to let you know how f'd up your fish are, but it makes no sense to me.

What he wrote.

To their credit, they did spell out the Valley Creek contradiction a little bit if you read the release, but totally neglect stating you can't take clams at all.  While I don't know anyone harvesting Asiatic Clams (wonder if they taste good on pasta?), it sounds like a potentially confusing directive for both species, especially for recreational anglers not already versed in the various state fishing regulations.

Just my two cents.


  1. Not only is it Duh (though no surprise one hand doesn't know what the other is doing)...but I sometimes wonder if these regs are 'tainted' by the conserve our resources movement.

    Cheers...*raising my coffee and tip'n my tinfoil hat*

  2. Morning Mike. That's the government for you. Tell you something is bad for you that you're not supposed to be eating anyway.


  3. Well, the clams don't appeal to me anyway. And for Mr. Brown Trout...he gives many thanks! :)
    Honestly, someone out there is pretty darn bored (or confused), if you ask me!

  4. Yay Fish Commission! At least they are keeping the illegal harvesters safe... Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some clams to eat... NO they didn't come from the Schuylkill River, I bought them from the lady selling them cheap at the boat launch BESIDE the Schuylkill River!

  5. I'm with Nate - why inform the illegal harvesters? I guess the gov't has to cover all the bases.


  6. I agree with Dennis, but to explain... if things are like they are in TN, the TN Wildlife Resources Agency sets fishing regulations (creel & size limits) while the TN Dept of Environmental Quality determines what is safe to eat or not. These are two separate agencies with very separate agendas, and probably report their findings independently with no concern whether such info really matters to each other. I seriously doubt there is any desire to protect illegal harvesters/poachers. As for the mussel/clam thing, the regulation from fish and game most likely refers to native species. I don't think any wildlife managers will be bothered by you collecting a non-native Asiatic clam. Those things are the cockroaches of the stream. I've seen them in waterways all over the South... they are everywhere... more people need to eat them.

  7. it is the attack of the liability monsters.

  8. Amazing...well maybe not really. Typical government in my mind.

  9. Damn! We were just ready to pull the trigger on the "First Annual OBN / Schuylkill River Asiatic Clam-a-thon, with a side trip to Valley Ck. for Brown Trout sushi, hosted by Troutrageous"

    Back to the drawing board

  10. I don't think you're alienating anyone, since we all deal with what has become a "four letter word" in our house..."government." Well, actually not just "government" but in reality our beef is with "bad government." I could go on, but I won't. This is a fishing blog after all. ;)

    And those clams? I'm sure they'd look mighty tasty if I were, say, an otter. Or insane. Wait. Umm. oh. ok, i'm leaving now............


  11. 100% of me is 85% alienated by this. The other 15% only understands about 46% of what governments do. Good thing I'm 50% sure I'll never need to worry about PA regulations.

  12. What Clif said...er...what did Clif say?

  13. Does Clif even know? :) LOL

  14. @Dennis - Nod of my tinfoil hat back atcha.

    @Shoreman - Yes it is.

    @TRD - Mmmmmm clams...if prepared right, I think you'd like em.

    @Nate - That lady's got good deals all the time.

    @S&D - Something tells me illegal harvesters aren't reading any of these advisories.

    @Jay - You make too much sense my friend, and you are correct, this is 2 different agencies at work here. Asked my county Waterways Conservation Officer and believe it or not you can't take any clams...invasive or non. Brilliant!

    @Ivan - We better watch what we say, we might get sued.

    @Cofisher - It's a shame that's what we feel "typical" government is these days...

    @Wolfy - Don't worry, that lady Nate & I know can still hook us up...for the right price...

    @Owl - We should all eat like otters. It just sounds good.

    @Clif/Cofisher/Owl - I tried to do the math, and it appears that 3.5% of Clif "gets it". Which honestly I'm surprised is so high.

  15. Only 50% of my brain is good at statistics, that explains the miscalc

  16. it sounds like yogi berra math to me.

    90% of the game is half mental