Doug Fenner d.fenner at
Sun Mar 28 02:36:20 EST 1999

   Some time back I had made the suggestion that perhaps cyanide fishing
could be stopped by getting the manufacturers and distributors to more
closely watch who they sold it to.  Several people have pointed out to me
that cyanide has many manufacturing and agricultural uses, so attempts to
police its distribution are likely to be futile.
   I also suggested that if the consumers of cyanide-caught fresh fish felt
the effects of the cyanide or at least were made aware of it, they might
not be so eager to pay high prices for it.  It has been pointed out to me
that the amounts remaining in the small portion eaten would be unlikely to
have noticable effects, and that people in the areas where this practice is
common may eat food from water with far worse contamination without
worrying about it.
   Perhaps we should not give up hope that this tolerant attitude toward
pollution may someday change.  River pollution in the US was once so bad
that a river (in Ohio) caught on fire.  It was not all that long ago when
air pollution in Tokyo was so bad that people on the street paid to breathe
pure oxygen from a machine.  A recent statement from the gov't of the
People's Republic of China indicates that they now feel that cleaning up
pollution there is an important goal.  -Doug
Douglas Fenner, Ph.D.
Coral Taxonomist
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No 3
Townsville MC
Queensland 4810
phone 07 4753 4241
e-mail: d.fenner at

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