Bad news from Japan 3/8/2010
Many BassFans know the Japanese government isn't too fond of black bass. Several years ago, anglers were barred from releasing bass on famed Lake Biwa – they were supposed to kill each one they caught. Some pros and guides on Lake Biwa got special permission to catch and release bass, but for the most part, anglers ignored the rule.
However, the government's campaign against black bass appears to have reached a new height. Hideyuki Nomura, editor of Japan's Lure Magazine, spoke with BassFan this week and said that starting next month, officials will destroy bass spawning beds in southern Lake Biwa located in 4 feet of water or less. The budget for the project is approximately $10 million.
Biwa, of course, recently produced the largemouth bass that tied for the world record. It's a sprawling (165,000 surface acres), fantastic bass fishery, and the birthplace of many Japanese angling techniques and advancements.
The government has taken the side of commercial fishermen in the black-bass debate. Biwa is home to a pond smelt and comparatively large freshwater shrimp that are both prized Japanese delicacies. At the same time, bass angling at Biwa has a tremendous economic impact on the surrounding Shiga prefecture. Influential bass anglers don't necessarily disagree that bass have some influence on the prevalence of native species, but they seek a balance between the commercial and recreational interests, as well as a focus on the habitat-degradation issues that stem from shoreline development.
More on this story as it develops.