HARDLY A MEMORY EXPERT
More than nine million striped bass are caught annually by almost 400,000 Atlantic Coast anglers, who spend some $45 million a year on their sport.
Most stripers caught from Cape Cod to southern New Jersey are spawned in the Hudson River. Now that huge fishery may be doomed by a hydroelectric plant New York's Consolidated Edison Company wants to build at Storm King mountain on the Hudson (SI, Nov. 16). Fighting the power of the power companies has always been tough, and last spring sportsmen and conservationists were confounded by "expert testimony" given the Federal Power Commission by a key witness for the power company, Dr. Alfred Perlmutter, a biologist who formerly worked for the New York Conservation Department's Bureau of Marine Fisheries. He testified that he could "almost guarantee" that the proposed plant would have "little effect" on fish eggs. The "best" spawning grounds for striped bass, he said, were "much farther upriver" than Storm King. And, he said, "The last study on the Hudson River was made in 1938, and it hasn't been done since."
It has been done since. The January 1957 issue of the New York Fish and Game Journal contained a paper by Warren F. Rathjen and Lewis C. Miller, two biologists then employed by the state. They found that 88.8% of striper eggs were concentrated between Highland Falls and Denning Point. Storm King mountain is just about equidistant from these two places.
Did Dr. Perlmutter know of the report?
"He knew of our work," says Miller. "He was in charge of the unit. In fact, he hired us."
"That's right," says Rathjen.
AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL
Since 1829 crews representing Oxford and Cambridge universities have been rowing against each other on the Thames. That, however, is not long enough for the race to have become an unassailable tradition in England. The Oxford Magazine, a faculty publication, came out last week against it. Practice for it took up too much time, the editors declared, and it cost too much money. Besides, they added without explanation, it is a "dying affair."
It does not seem to be dying for lack of public interest, certainly. Last year's race was watched by 13 million viewers, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, and that is 3 million more than watch Dr. Kildare in Britain. Thousands more take the trouble to line the Thames each year.