With warm weather approaching the area and outdoor activities soon to follow, sixth grade students at Lanigan Elementary recently learned the ethics and regulations behind fishing.
James Everard, a fisheries biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, recently served as a guest speaker at the school and discussed fishing regulations, such as open seasons, catch limits, species identification and proper catch-and-release protocol.
“One of the reasons I find fish so fascinating is because fish come in every shape, size and color,” said Everard. “There are 20,000 species of fish, which is more than birds, reptiles and amphibians combined.”
Everard presented students with several fish mounts and had the students guess the species of each fish.
Each mount was of a fish native to Oswego County waters, including brook trout, yellow perch, salmon and bluegills.
The presentation tied into the students ELA module, as they are currently reading the text “World of Fish” by Mark Kurlansky. Throughout the novel, the author elaborates on the many ways that humans impact fish populations within the ocean.
“The novel explains how, through the food web, our choices can ultimately affect an entire ecosystem,” said teacher Elizabeth Stoddard. “The presentation provided the kids with a little background information on the fish in general along with information on how they can be ethical and responsible anglers.”
Living in Oswego County, Stoddard said students rely on outdoor activities such as fishing during the spring and summertime. However, she said very few of the students knew the importance of ethical fishing or of the specific regulations that must be followed.
“Far too often, parents teach kids that fishing is ‘throwing some bait in and seeing what you catch.’ I want our students to know that there are legal parameters to fishing and that their decisions, even as one individual, can impact the health of any body of water,” she said.
After the presentation, students showcased an empowered mentality toward what they’d learned, with several students vowing to share their new knowledge with friends and family members.