News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 2006


National fish summit brings needed debate

A power meeting in Atlanta last week should bring more public awareness to what the nation is doing to its rivers and lakes.

The group says that 40 percent of the country's fish and aquatic species are at risk and that half the rivers are impaired or polluted.

That means, of course, that fish, an important part of the food chain, likely are unhealthy.

Made up of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the group More Fish has credentials.

Wisely, More Fish isn't calling for new government regulations. Instead, it hopes to create a groundswell among the public that will bring about needed change.

The group met at the new Georgia Aquarium as a fundraising event, but also to create interest in the wonderful society that lives out of human sight.

Perhaps more disturbing than having 40 percent of the country's fish and aquatic species at risk is that a growing percentage of the fish Americans consume come from overseas where authorities pay even less attention to water quality.

Try buying U.S. salmon in the grocery store. It's difficult. Most fish come from Asia or South America.

Increasingly, medical research shows that eating fish at least a couple times a week is heart-healthy. But are we at the same time eating pollutants that are harmful?

Knowing what pollution does to the nation's water supply and what a polluted water supply does to human health should be part of the mission of More Fish.

Sadly, too many people still associate environmentalists with the ridiculous snail darter episode when the Tennessee Valley Authority built the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River.

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