Those Tournaments are Still Killing Fish
I dropped by a bass fishing tournament the other day on Lake Minnetonka, a lake close to my home. Even with all the research data, articles in major publications and a constant barrage of information targeted towards delayed mortality regarding fishing competitions, the events are still killing all the fish and claiming they are being released.
Check out this Bag Depletion Chart.
Few of the bags at the event were holding less than five pounds of fish and none of them were under the threshold of 4.3 minutes so the bottom line is: All the fish died from delayed mortality.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Tournaments all over the country are continuing to use weigh-in bags without any form of oxygen addition and killing every fish brought to the scales. They toss the fish back of course, shortly after they’re weighed and the fish then swim to the bottom and die. Some float up, most don’t.
This wouldn’t bother me at all if they would fillet the fish and deliver them to a food shelf. I would be even happier if they would incorporate the equipment to keep the fish healthy and release them to live again, but that doesn’t happen. The equipment is available. Go to keepfishalive.com and check out their tournament system. The price of this equipment is cheap when you consider the resource, which the organizers of bag tournaments don’t care about. If they really cared one iota about the delayed mortality they were causing they would make the investment.
In conversations with tournament organizers I always get the same response when I question them on their inability to see that their program is causing a tremendous amount of delayed mortality. They question the science. They question my motives saying I’m nothing but a shill for The Oxygenator system. They get extremely defensive and often belligerent when questioned about their program. Which leads me to believe they just don’t care about the resource.
First of all, I get no money from The Oxygenator people. I believe the science because it has been proven many times. And I hate to see all those fish get wasted because competitive anglers and tournament organizers are too lazy, too cheap and too bone-headed to realize they are harming the resource by not taking the precautions required to keep the fish brought to the scales healthy.
And I don’t get it when these anglers work their rears off to maintain a livewell environment that keeps the fish stress-free, yet they bag the fish and hold them for long periods while waiting for the scale to weigh them. It seems once the fish have been deemed alive so the angler won’t get penalized, they kill them all anyway. Then they waste the fish by dumping them back to die and sink.
I will say the bigger tournaments are working hard to negate the effects of oxygen starvation at the weigh-ins. The problem I see is with the smaller tournaments that still want to weigh their fish in bags with no added oxygen. It’s a shame what they’re doing to the resource.