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Gary Robbins: Pat attention to trout regarding climate

Gary Robbins: Pat attention to trout regarding climate

From the COLLECTION: Letters, columns, cartoon and editorials from our weekend Opinion pages series
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I have been a trout fisherman most of my life. We are a group that pay keen attention to conditions that effect fishing and conservation in general. The warming of our climate is affecting us all and that includes fish, fisherman and fisherwomen. Average US temperatures have risen from 1.3 degrees to 1.9 degrees F since 1895. The last decade has been the warmest on record.

Trout are a very temperature-sensitive species and if they could speak, would have warned us of the threat long ago. Eastern native brook trout have been showing evidence of climate impact with delayed timing of their fall spawn and fewer young as water temperatures rise. Many fishermen are noticing the decreased size of trout caught.

As conservation-minded people, we can stop fishing when summer stream temperatures rise above a safe level, but that ignores the bellwether alarm these finned cousins are ringing out. Like the canary in the coal mine, the trout are speaking in their own way to tell us it is time we take serious action to transition away from burning fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel development degrades and fragments habitat and results in carbon emissions that effect fish and wildlife. I am urging every angler, and conservationist to contact their representatives and senators, encouraging them to support market-based price on carbon emissions that reduces greenhouse gasses and promotes renewable energy solutions. Let’s pay attention to what trout are telling us before it’s too late.

Gary Robbins

Onalaska

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