The decline of a great smallmouth bass fishery

Let’s admit it, the Susquehanna needs help

Request for Declaration of Impairment for the Susquehanna River

Below is information which appeared in a publication of Penn Future.  I especially recommend that you click on the link to see the letters which have been written to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  Last week at the quarterly meeting of the PA Fish & Boat Commission I was present for a report on what the Commission has learned this year from pathological examinations of fish captured in 2009 and 2010 (funding was not available for the lab analysis until late in 2011).  Based upon that information and new indications of diseased smallmouth in early 2012 (as detailed in the letter sent by the Commission to the PA DEP), we are facing dire consequences.  The Executive Director made the statement that he did not want to be Director when the extinction of smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River occurs which is a real possibility if action is not taken immediately.

The Executive Director encouraged bass fishermen to write to the Secretary of the PA DEP requesting declaration of the Susquehanna River as an impaired river which would make Federal funding available to study the problem in more detail, identify methods of correcting the problem and funding for the actual corrective actions needed.  Attached is my letter to the PA DEP requesting such action which I grant permission to you to use as you see fit.

Please help publicize the dire consequences the smallmouth bass fishery faces in the Susquehanna River and call to action our fellow bass fishermen to descend on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by writing letters to the PA DEP Secretary.
Since 2005 the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has been tracking the decline of the smallmouth bass fishery in the Susquehanna River. The evidence of sick and dying fish in the Susquehanna and tributaries such as the Juniata have been increasing. Both young and adult fish have been found with disease, lesions, and most recently, an increase in black spots.

Last summer, PennFuture joined with the Fish & Boat Commission and other conservation organizations to request that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) list portions of the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers as impaired and begin working on a cleanup plan. The Fish & Boat Commission last week reinforced this ask with another detailed letter to the DEP.

Water quality in the Susquehanna River basin must improve, just as it must improve downstream in the Chesapeake Bay, if we want to see a rebound in the fishery and in the tourism and recreation economy that’s been built on it. We appreciate the leadership exhibited by the Fish & Boat Commission as we look to them and the DEP to help tackle our water-quality problems.

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About Mark

Mark Lassagne, born and raised in California is the creator of the popular, BASS ANGLER magazine. Mark a skillful professional angler, outdoor writer, promoter and top competitor on the western tournament circuits. www.marklassagne.com

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