Here we go again. Another roundabout effort by regulators to stop fishing in our own waters. I wonder when and if it is going to stop. I have been fishing for and eating cobia for 25 years in Port Royal Sound. I ate it four times last week and, yes, my kids ate it, too.
I find it difficult to heed the state Department of Health and Environmental Control's warning. Cobia are one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean. They have the highest level of Omega-3 fatty acids per serving. They grow an average of 8 to 10 pounds a year. Therefore, a 50-pound cobia is around 5 to 6 years old. This is not enough time for mercury to build up in a fish's system. The other species on the list are very slow growers. The king mackerel, for example: a 30 pounder is more than 18 years old.
I am starting to wonder if our regulators want us all to eat talapia. Do you think they run tests on imported talapia? Mercury would be the least of my worries about a fish that is primarily grown in Asia in ponds with very little or no water flow. Would you rather eat a fish that swims around all day eating its own fecal matter in a muddy, stagnant pond on another continent, or a fish harvested less than 24 hours ago from the open waters of the United States? Not a difficult decision for me. Shouldn't be for any American.
Hilton Head Island
Editor's note: The writer is owner of Bulldog Fishing Charters.