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Two years ago conservationists stocked Lake Michigan with coho salmon fingerlings imported from Oregon, and by the end of last summer 20-pounders were being caught and the program was heralded as a spectacular biological success. As recently as last month authorities in the area were enthusiastically predicting that the ever-increasing fleets of coho fishermen would bring the region more than $9 million this season.
It is bitter irony that conservationists must now report that hundreds of thousands of young salmon hatched from eggs taken from Lake Michigan coho have died. Laboratory tests show that DDT is the killer.
The DDT has washed off the land and contaminated the lake—just as it has much of the world's fresh-and marine-water environments. So pervasive is its presence that traces of it are even found in rain. Once in the water, it enters microscopic plankton, the base of the natural food chain, and is then absorbed, in increasingly concentrated amounts, by higher forms of life. It has been detected, along with several other so-called persistent pesticides, in many species of ocean and freshwater fish. In birds of prey, such as eagles, falcons and ospreys, which feed on DDT-tainted animals and fish, the pesticide inhibits reproduction. How DDT affects the highest carnivore—man—is not yet evident, but virtually everything he eats contains some of it.
Michigan is now taking action to prevent further pesticide pollution in its waters and is asking neighboring states to cooperate. "People had better heed the warning," says one biologist. "Even if we were able to completely curtail the use of it today, it would take 100 years to purge Lake Michigan of DDT."
BENT ON CHANGE
With the exception of goalies and centers, almost every player in the National Hockey League is now using a curved stick. The trend started about six years ago when players like Stan Mikita began to soak their sticks in water and bend the blades. The bent blade made the puck behave something like a knuckle ball. Sticks are now custom-curved by the manufacturer to each player's specifications. Mikita has the most severe hook in the league, and Bobby Hull is next.
There is no rule against curved blades nor any regulation specifying the maximum degree of curve permitted, but a number of NHL goalies—who are being befuddled by and hit with dancing pucks—say there better be, and quick.
"The curved stick is dangerous," Oakland's Charlie Hodge says. "Players can't control their shots." Detroit's Roy Edwards complains, "It's impossible to follow a puck. The only chance a goalie has is for the puck to hit him."