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If you spend much time on angling web sites, you have probably gotten wind of a brouhaha over spearfishing for tarpon in Louisiana coastal waters. The conservation organization, Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited (BTU), deserves all the credit for bringing this foolish abuse of a natural resource to light. You can read the BTU release by going to that organization’s web site. Click on News and Events and scroll to Past News.
Online Extra subscribers already know about this situation because we released an e-mail bulletin about it last month. At this point, there is no need to repeat all of the good points BTU makes about this abuse in its press release. A lot of the points are common sense anyway. A more productive approach here is to urge you to take a moment to let some of the organizations promoting this sport know how you feel about their idea of fun. One of these is HellDivers.org. This organization had multiple photos of divers with dead tarpon on its web site until the brouhaha developed, but had removed all of them but one as this is written. Another web site you may want to visit is The Rok Zone, created by an individual called Louis Rossignol, aka The Rok. One of the photos on this web site shows The Rok reared back against the side of his boat with a 142-pound tarpon he has killed with a spear gun. Rossignol’s web site has the following slogan emblazoned across the top: Killing Shit For The Fun Of It!!!
In our Online Extra Bulletin last month, we urged readers to avoid a holier-than-thou approach in their communication with these organizations, noting that low-key statements from fellow sportsmen would be more likely to be heard than rants. Actually, Miami writer Bob Stearns may have a better idea. In an e-mail he distributed last month he called The Rok a redneck, knuckle-dragging jerk.
Take your pick as to the approach you want to make, but do drop these people a line. Another useful thing to do is drop a note to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, urging them to illegalize spearfishing for tarpon. After all, these are migratory fish that move hundreds of miles up and down the coast. It takes decades for them to grow to full size. They are worth millions of dollars to catch-and-release fishermen.
The easiest way to communicate with these organizations is to go to their web sites. Here are their addresses.