Re: NANFA-- bass & bluegills in Japan

Robert Carillio (
Thu, 03 Aug 2000 18:09:32 EDT

Chris, whoever said that this is a prime example of how the Japanese seem to
like to mimic American Culture, said a "largemouth full!!!"... This is
insane, how this fish is worshiped by the Bass enthusiasts, and desired to
be protected, in the name of "protecting nature"... I think it's more about
protecting "style", and not basing decisions on scientific data, rather
"marketing propaganda". This is much the same way developers justify ripping
up riparian zone (figurativly speaking) to build houses and condos,.... all
under the guise of "The American Dream" For many, these kinds of dreams will
result in a biological nightmare!.... All because "mass marketing", or
"what is cool", seems to have the popular upper hand at the moment!!!!....
Rob C.

>From: Christopher Scharpf <>
>To: NANFA Mailing List <>
>Subject: NANFA-- bass & bluegills in Japan
>Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2000 16:35:41 -0400
>Just received this fascinating email from John Bondhus. It was written by
>daughter, who lives in Japan.
>Remember how I told you about how the largemouth bass and bluegill are
>taking over Japanese waterways and pushing hundreds of species of
>indigenous Japanese fishes to extinction? They had something on TV
>about his today.
>As I mentioned before, Japan has stringent laws against moving these
>fish into other lakes and rivers, but bass fishermen ignore the laws and
>continue moving them around from one body of water to another. Now
>they've spread all over the country. The show interfered bass haters
>and bass lovers.
>Obviously some people move them around because they want to go bass
>fishing closer to their homes or cabins. However, one bass enthusiast
>that was interviewed offered another view on bass stocking. He compared
>bass fishers to golfers by saying that golfers get tired of always
>golfing the same course, and bass fishers get tired of always fishing
>the same lake. I can't help but think that people who move the bass
>around for this reason are even worse than than those who move them
>around for their own personal convenience. He seemed to think there was
>nothing wrong with this. BTW, he admits to illegally stocking bass in
>other Japanese waterways for this very reason and seemed to think there
>was nothing wrong with it. Of course, it's not like he'll get arrested
>for it. His mom is Japanese, but his dad is American and he lives in
>the United States now, so there's really nothing the Japanese government
>could do about it. I suppose that even if he visited Japan and got
>arrested for it during his visit, he'd go to the US press and Americans
>all over the country would be pissed off at Japan for arresting an
>American for stocking lakes with bass.
>Commercial fisherman as well as Japanese native fish lovers hate bass
>and bluegill. Obviously the native fish lovers hate them because
>they're pushing many native species to extinction. Commercial fisherman
>hate them because they're severely reducing the numbers of edible
>species that make up their livelihood. Many of the fisherman
>interviewed complained that their nets were filled with nothing but
>bluegill and a few bass.
>The Japanese don't eat bass or bluegill. However, I did see a show a
>few weeks ago about a bunch of people that were trying to tackle the
>bluegill problem by finding ways to stimulate bluegill consumption.
>They experimented with various recipes in an attempt to make the fish
>appealing to the Japanese palate, like fish paste and sashimi (raw
>bluegill! that's scary!). Most weren't very successful, but a couple
>restaurants did find some recipes for the fish that might help promote
>their use as a food fish.
>Bass fishing has become very popular in Japan in recent years. Even
>some irresponsible TV shows are promoting it by depicting popular
>celebrities bass fishing. Bass fishing clothes (the clothes guys you
>see on fishing shows) is becoming quite stylish. The media makes bass
>fishing look "cool" and "trendy". The show I saw today referred to this
>saying that this was a prime example of how the Japanese love to imitate
>Americans. The Japanese look at bass fishing the way Americans look at
>French culture. It's chic.
>Another thing that's stimulating the popularity of bass fishing in Japan
>is that it's being portrayed as "nature-friendly" because of the "catch
>and release" policy of bass fishers. In the US, the idea is usually to
>release fish that are too small to cook or not worth mounting. Do US
>bass fishers release big bass too? Japanese bass fishers release all
>the fish they catch. They do that to be kind to nature. This gives
>bass fishing an "environmental" image in Japan.
>I remember how you said that members of the bass family present a
>problem to any ecosystem they're not native to. I also remember hearing
>that (I don't know if I heard it from you or read it in a book) they
>were originally native only to a certain area of North America and were
>spread around the continent by bass fisherman, and disrupted many North
>American ecoystems the same way. Of course, that was so long ago that
>now people think they're native to the whole of North America. That was
>an opinion mentioned on the show. They said that Japan and North
>America were different because the fish is not indigenous to Japan, but
>it is native all over the U.S. They also said that the bass population
>is also in trouble in North America because of decreasing populations.
>Well, I suppose they got these ideas because the show interviewed
>several American bass enthusiasts, but didn't interview any
>ichthyologists or anyone from an government or non-government
>organization like NANFA that cares about nongame fish. (Of course, they
>probably didn't know that they should. They did interview Japanese
>ichthyologists regarding the bass problem in Japan. I thought it was a
>pretty well produced program.)
>Unfortunately, the government has been unable to control illegal bass
>stocking in Japanese waterways. The bass fisherman catch the fish, put
>them in a beer cooler, and move them to the waterway of their choice.
>Some have even solicited commercial fisherman to sell them the bass they
>catch in their nets ("preferably fingerlings") because they "have a
>small pond near my house that I'd like to stock bass in." (Naturally,
>the fisherman refuse.)
>Now that they've taken over so many lakes, commercial fisherman and
>local government bodies responsible for lake management have taken new
>steps to try to rid their lakes of the pests.
>I've heard of Americans using chemical poisons and even electricution to
>rid waterways of exotic species like carp, but these processes also hurt
>the indigenous species of fish and other aquatic lifeforms. The
>Japanese government would never go for this. For one thing, many of the
>waterways that have become overrun by bass and bluegill are home to many
>rare and endangered species of fish and other lifeforms. Japan's
>largest lake, Lake Biwa, is home to several species of fish that are
>exclusive to Lake Biwa and can be found nowhere else in the world.
>(What I mean is, nowhere else in Japan either.) Moreover, the Japanese
>government is concerned not only with fish species, but also other
>lifeforms such as plants and underwater insects. Could these all be
>restocked after a waterway is poisoned to remove bass and bluegill?
>What about lifeforms that are still undiscovered in a lake the size of
>Lake Biwa?
>As I mentioned above, some people are trying to promote bluegill
>consumption as a way of counteracting their population growth. (I
>haven't heard of anyone trying to do this for bass though, which are
>also considered inedible by the Japanese.)
>However, the most popular and only effective method being undertaken is
>to simply throw the fish away. Commercial fisherman simply dispose of
>the mass quanties of bluegill and bass they catch in their nets.
>(Despite offers from bass enthusiasts to buy them.) At some lakes,
>plastic trashcans have been set up near the lake with signs reading "for
>exotic species" for responsible recreational fisherman to throw away
>their bass and bluegill. I don't know how successful this is
>considering the "catch and release" policy of Japanese bass fishers.
>Especially when you consider that most Japanese aren't aware of the bass
>problem in the first place.
>Bluegill are considered junk fish in Japan, just like Americans see
>carp. However, the largemouth bass have plenty of supporters to protect
>them. It's not just Japanese bass enthusiasts either. I remember when
>somebody reproduced an article from an American newspaper called "Japan
>Goes Bassin'" in the NANFA mailing list. The person who wrote the
>original article supported bass fishing in Japan and tried to make it
>look like the Japanese government was bad for trying to outlaw the
>fish. I don't have to tell you what NANFA people thought of that
>article. If memory serves me correctly, I believe some people talked
>about writing a letter to the newspaper to complain. Bass lovers in
>Japan (both Japanese and the American writer of that article) seem to
>think the poor largemouth bass are being persecuted because of "greedy"
>commercial fisherman and people who like "pretty fish". What they
>intentionally ignore is the fact that Japanese nature lovers and the
>Japanese government are trying to protect the less popular species of
>endangered native fishes as well. Let's face it, most of the seriously
>endangered species are the unpopular fishes that are not raised in
>aquariums or stocked in other waterways.
>In the past bass enthusiasts worked to promote the popularity of the
>largemouth bass and practiced civil disobedience by illegally stocking
>Japanese aquatic ecosystems with their beloved bass. Recently they've
>crossed the line to terrorism. According to the program, bass lovers
>are now sending out anonymous letters threatening to destroy the fishing
>nets of any commercial fishermen who discard of the bass caught in their
>nets instead of releasing them back into the lakes.
>BTW, I once told you that when someone talks about "black bass" in Japan
>they're talking about the largemouth bass. This is because the
>largemouth bass was the only black bass in Japan. However, at the end
>of the program they mentioned that recently a few smallmouth bass have
>been spotted in Japan. Considering how fast bass proliferate, they must
>have been smuggled into the country fairly recently.
>/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
>/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
>/ Association"
>/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
>/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
>/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
>/ For a digest version, send the command to
>/ instead.
>/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,