Anglers can finally catch a break! At least from all the questions the EPA Consumption Study team has been grilling them on over the past year. The study, which started February 2012, recently ended this January 2013. The survey team surveyed Southern California anglers from Seal Beach to Santa Monica in order to understand their consumption habits of eating certain types of local contaminated fish, such as white croaker, barracuda, topsmelt, barred sand bass and black croaker.
During the yearlong study, the survey team learned quite a bit about the local anglers. For example, they found that the angler community in Southern California is comprised of a socially diverse group of men and women that speak a range of different languages. Despite coming from various backgrounds, their respect for one another and the sport is mightily admirable.
At first the survey team may have looked like they were a fish out of water, but they quickly got the hang of reeling in anglers and building a trusting relationship with them.
“Some anglers may appear to be rough around the edges, but they’re a friendly bunch once you get to know them. Before we knew it, we were sharing stories and cracking jokes with anglers about turd rollers [more commonly known as sand bass].” – Surveyor, Lucia Phan
“During the winter months, only the seasoned anglers were out and it was nice to see that we remembered each other.” – Surveyor, Thuy Nghiem
The study was a mutual learning experience for anglers and the survey team.
“By having conversations with anglers, we became aware of how fishing has changed over the years and why anglers are skeptical of us ‘outsiders.’ Many longtime anglers reported that catching fish now is not as easy as it used to be a decade ago, or even a few years ago. ” – Surveyor, Alben Phung
According to some anglers, the days of catching barracuda and buckets of corbina right off the pier are long gone. Dwindling fish populations, higher regulations, and an influx of outreach have made anglers more conscious of the situation. But all in all, anglers are still out there just to have a good time. As anglers shared their experiences and concerns about the future of fishing, a conclusion can be made: Make Protecting Fishin’ Our Mission!