I went to the park yesterday. Nothing special. Just went to the park. I noticed that a Chinese father and his two young sons (I’d say ages 14 and 8) were taking pictures of the fish they had caught in the river that runs through the park. And it was an impressive catch. Maybe eight fish altogether and they were fairly big. The smallest fish was probably 18-20 inches. All the fish were lying out of the water as they were taking the pictures and I didn’t see much movement from them. They finished taking the pictures, and then they packed up the five biggest fish in their coolers. Then…my god I still can’t believe this…they calmly, causally walked over to a park trashcan and threw the remaining fish away.
It took me a minute to process that. They just threw the fish away. Mind you, the river was a couple of meters closer for them to walk to than the trash can. So I reasoned that the fish were probably dead. After all, they were doing all that posing for the pictures out of the water.
Still sitting, I got a little perturbed because I thought that if they knew they couldn’t take all the fish home due to space in their coolers, why not throw the overflow fish back and save killing them for the sake of a few pictures? In the very least, take the pictures quick and then throw them back. At this point, I was thinking that that was pretty irresponsible.
Curiosity then got the better of me. I wanted to see the fish for myself. The Chinese family had just walked away, so I walked over to the trashcan and peered at the three fish amid the smelly trash and tons of flying bugs. They looked pretty dead. My friend says that they were probably carp. Not the prettiest fish, but certainly not ugly. THEN OMFG, one of those “dead” fish moved!!!!!!!!!! One of those fish gasped for air. Sirens in my head. Seeing red. Feeling panic. Holy shit what should I do? Should I run after that family and tell them to please get the fish out of the trashcan and throw them into the river? Should I try to do that myself? Should I just sit back down?
I couldn’t freaking believe it! They threw away live fish? Who fucking does that? Do people have such low regard for life that they would rather throw a living animal away than let it live? I’m clenching my teeth my so hard just writing this post because this so inflames me. If you are going to catch fish and keep them to eat, fine. I get that. If you are going to catch fish and release them, fine. I get that too. If you are going to catch fish and just let them die for no damn reason, then go to hell. There is no place for such obscene behavior. And if this is some kind of commonplace practice in Wisconsin as my friend suggests, I feel like humankind is failing.
I did go back to sit down because I could not think of a way to get those fish out. Laugh all you want, I didn’t want to use my bare hands. I’ve been cut on fish before and that trash was gross. I kept thinking, “Surely they are dead by now. The father must have known something that I did not know about the inevitability of the fish’s deaths.” But I couldn’t sit comfortably with those attempted-soothing thoughts. So I ripped up some of the plastic landscaping covering that was peeping up in a nearby flowerbed (you know, the kind to prevent weeds) – I ripped up a bunch – and went back to that trash can to get those fish out. If those fish were going to die, they were not going to die in there! They were going to die in their river. And damn it was not easy getting them out. Slippery. Heavy. And far down in the trash by this point. I got the first one out and almost made it to the river without dropping it, but I drop it two feet away. I scooted it the rest of the way, it made a splash in the river (a three foot drop), and swam away. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I’d see it bob up on its side in a few moments. Nope. All good as far as I could tell. The second fish swallowed a hook and there was a bit of tackle hanging out its mouth. He didn’t look so good, and he did bob up when I threw him in even though he was still breathing. But at least he will die in the river (or make some miracle recovery, how knows). So far one for two. The third fish did great as the first. Two out of three! Not bad, I thought.
The nerve that some people would leave a living animal to die when they could have easily allowed it to live. I only hope that when an uber-race of aliens comes to take us as pets and eat us to survive that they have a more abundant dose of decent courtesy and respect.