Fishing frenzy in Uruguay draws black-drum ban


Anglers thronged to the Santa Lucía River on foot and in boats when news of the black-drum run broke. (Photo courtesy of Uruguayan Navy)

The shoals of black drum (Pogonias cromis) were unusually visible as they entered Uruguay’s Santa Lucía River from the River Plate, west of Montevideo. Anglers shared videos in a Facebook group named Amantes de la Pesca, or fish lovers, attracting 8,500 followers. And by Nov. 10 and 11 the word had spread among sportfishing enthusiasts: black drum were striking at the mouth of the Santa Lucía. The arrival of the black drum, valued by anglers for their ample size and weight and their flavorful meat, were bound to attract attention. But their reception this month swiftly spiraled out of control. Hundreds of people stationed themselves over the river with fishing rods on the aging Santiago Vázquez highway bridge, dangling lines in the water. Artisanal fishers, meanwhile, illegally spread nets in the channel, capturing hundreds of fish that had been heading upstream to lay eggs. What had started out as cheery... [Log in to read more]

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