Fish & Feathers: Halibut, clams and Down Under

<I>RON MALAST photo</I><BR>Think this is a two-headed deer? Better take a closer look!

A potpourri of subjects surface this week as we head into the Mother's Day weekend:

Clams - As a pleasant surprise, Dan Ayres of the WDFW, has bestowed a bonus weekend of morning clam digs this coming weekend.

? Saturday, May 9 (8:34 a.m. low -0.8) Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

? Sunday, May 10 (9:13 a.m. low -0.7) Long Beach

Halibut - Two of the charter boats that did get out to fish on the opener, Pacific Beauty and Stardust both had limits for customers. Some fish were in the 35 to 45 pound range. All boats were grounded Saturday and Sunday because of high seas.

Down Under - Many thanks to our reader Phil Smythe of Australia, who brought to my attention the error of my ways. My source was U.S. News & World Report. Upon further investigation the truth is that even before the 1996 gun buyback by the Australian government, there had been a steady slow decline in Australian crime rates. As in most discussions of this type you can find arguments both pro and con, depending upon geographic areas, as I did by studying other Web sites.

At ( article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=15304) they reported that after Australian lawmakers passed gun bans, owners were forced to surrender about 650,000 guns, which were later slated for destruction according to the Australian Sporting Shooters Association.

Though lawmakers responsible for passing the ban promised a safer country, the nation's crime statistics tell a different story.

? Countrywide, homicides up 3.2 percent

? Assaults are up 8.6 percent

? Amazingly, armed robberies have climbed nearly 45 percent

? In the 25 years before the gun bans, crime rates in Australia had been dropping steadily

? There has been a "dramatic increase" in home burglaries and assaults on the elderly.

This was in their May 2 edition.

No doubt this is biased look by Australian Sporting Shooters Association at what happened after the gun ban. This is certainly no different than the disagreement in stats that we have in this country between the National Rifle Association and anti-gun groups.

You still have the best beer - Foster's!

Increase in Fishing Licenses

Salmon and steelhead anglers in the Columbia River and other selected tributaries will be paying an extra $7.50 a year in the state fishing license fees through 2016. The new bill 5421 creates a pilot program, beginning in January to increase selective recreational fishing in the Columbia River between Rocky Point and Chief Joseph Dam.

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