I just recently renewed my fishing license. Although, sometimes I don't know why I keep one. The bulk of my fishing is done off the end of the dock at camp, and frankly, the fishing there is pretty good. But hey, I like to do my part and stay legal. Plus, I often fish with my uncle when he comes to visit, so I have to be legal then.
I like freshwater fish well enough, but I'm not always very motivated to do much of the cleaning. so more often than not, I release the fish I catch. But occasionally, we enjoy a good old perch and eggs breakfast. Or a big bass for dinner. But not very often. And it's mostly because the freshwater fish in Maine are only kind of safe to eat.
It's true. Most lakes and streams in Maine have crazy high levels of mercury. Poisoning from mercury can cause a wide variety of health issues. Especially in pregnant women, or those who are nursing. And of course, in young children as well. These are the highest risk groups, according to the BDN.
As a rule of thumb, most people should only have a meal of salmon or trout once a week, and other fish like perch or bass, only once a month. For pregnant or nursing moms, they should only eat salmon or trout once a month, and should never eat the others at all. Mercury can make it's way into unborn children, or into breast milk.
We can eat a bit more salmon and trout because the water they come from is much colder than most of our lakes. My camp is on Davis Pond, which has a maximum depth of about 15 feet. that's pretty shallow, and in summer the lake can feel like bathwater. So eating fish out of there on a regular basis, comes with a certain risk.
Most of our mercury is coming from air pollution that falls on us via the rain. So it's like we can do a whole heck of a lot to stop it. There's a lot of monitoring of mercury levels, but it's always going to be there. The only thing we can do to protect ourselves is to take in as little as we can.
So maybe just chuck that big bass right back in the lake? Ugh, that's gonna sting. I'll just get plenty of photos, hahaha.