Before you read the rest of this post, please be aware I am not a catch and release Nazi. I have no problem eating what I catch most of the time
. I do, however, feel the need to let you know that the stripers we pull out of Monterey Bay may not be a particularly healthy meal.
My 9-5 job is to manage water quality programs for a City in the Monterey Bay area. In that capacity, I work with a number of scientists and have access to data on local waters. As some of you already know, a significant percentage of the stripers in the Monterey Bay surf spent their first year or two of life in our local rivers. They return to these waters each year to spawn. Sadly, the water quality in these waters is far from pristine. Recently I had to put up warning signs at a local lake because the levels of DDT in carp flesh were the highest recorded in any lake in the State. http://bites.ksu.edu/news/695/09/05/19/ ... pinto-lake
. Pinto lake is part of the Pajaro river watershed. The Pajaro itself has been found to contain significant levels of pesticides, including DDT. This report from UCSC and CDFG paints a less than appealing picture. http://www.ccamp.info/_2010/ccamp/docum ... nt1999.pdf
It is not unreasonable to assume that stripers born in the Pajaro ( and most likely the Salinas, too) will have a body burden of pesticides such as DDT and its breakdown products DDD and DDE ( as well as other pesticides and herbicides). Just how high the pesticide levels are in striper flesh is unknown at this time. No one has tested the fish that I am aware of. Given the state of the economy at this time, I am not sure anyone has the $ to conduct such a study anytime soon.
Ultimately, the decision to take a fish or two home to eat is yours and yours alone. I just did not feel comfortable watching my fellow anglers ( many of whom I know and respect) make that decision without some idea of the nature of their catch.