When I was a kid, if you wanted to eat seafood for dinner, you would pull out your fishing rod or crab trap and head for the water.
My grandfather raised me as a fisherman, teaching me to fish and catch trout in the nearby river.
These days, if you have the idea of eating fish for dinner, most people go to the grocery store.
Catching our own fish has been a family tradition, however, and I can’t imagine it any other way. But climate change and all constructions in our region have a negative impact on fishing.
If we’re not careful we’ll end up with dirty water, flooded or dried up streams and streams, and an equally dried up economy when tourists don’t want to come here.
One of my favorite places to fish the red edge in the North Santee area is a great example of the impact of weather changes on fishing.
There are some great fishing coves jutting out from the river up there, but when hurricanes pass – and nowadays even the heavy rains that occur more often – they have to open the upstream dams that flood the creek.
When this happens, fish habitats are disturbed, the water tends to be more cloudy.
Worse, it also floods people’s homes.
When the water rises, I understand that the dam must be released. But as there are more and more thunderstorms and the rains become more abundant, it is going to become an even more serious problem.
This is all happening because we are putting too much pollution in our air and water, heating up the atmosphere and causing all these dangerous storms. We must take care of this land that has been entrusted to us all, or it will not be able to continue to take care of us.
New constructions and developments also pose challenges for the fishery.
Much of the safe coastal land is already built, so as our area grows, developers plan to build on or too close to ponds and other wetlands.
It harms – and sometimes even eliminates – the fishing grounds that people like me use for food. It also makes our region more vulnerable to flooding.
When you interfere with these natural flood protection devices that are built on our lands, it is a recipe for failure.
It means a lot to me to have been able to transmit the love of fishing that my grandfather planted in me to my two children.
In fact, my 15 year old daughter really got into it. We call her the “whispering fish” – she catches more than any of us.
She came to love the way our family and friends come together at the end of a long day of fishing – taking turns cleaning and cooking the day’s catch, then enjoying our hand-caught supper around the table. .
I love this way of life and I want my children to pass it on to their children and grandchildren someday too.
We all need to participate to keep our air clean by reducing pollution from power plants, like the nearby Winyah coal-fired power plant, and to keep our water free of waste and industrial waste.
We need to be more attentive to the growth of our region to ensure that we preserve the innate flood protection of our natural wetlands and ponds.
We need to teach our children to take care of our environment so that it is there to care for them and for generations to come.
LaToya Anderson is a Georgetown County resident who lives near Santee Cooper’s Winyah Coal Plant. She is a drinking water advocate and passionate about fishing.