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‘Sopranos’ actor calls on Brooklyn Bridge Park to halt fishing workshops

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You try to get out, but they reel you back in!

An actor from the iconic HBO mob drama “Sopranos” demanded Brooklyn Bridge Park stop holding all-ages fishing workshops, saying they’re teaching kids to torture animals — for fun!

“Most children have a natural empathy for animals, and that kindness should be nurtured, not undermined by teaching kids that it’s okay to hook fish and yank them out of their natural environment for ‘fun,’” Edie Falco — a Brooklyn native who played Carmela, the wife of fictional New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano — wrote in a letter on behalf of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to the semi-private corporation in charge of the waterfront green space. “May I hear that you’ll make this year’s clinics the last?”

The park organization’s partner group in charge of programming, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, debuted the six workshops in May, where experts and marine biologists teach budding anglers young and old the basics of line fishing from Pier 5.

But the thespian said that the fish can suffer permanent damage or even die from being pulled out of their natural habitat by a hook through their mouths.

“Fish who are handled by humans can suffer from the loss of their protective scale coating, making them vulnerable to disease, and one study found that the injuries caused to their mouths after they’re hooked can impair their ability to eat,” Falco said. “Many fish who are caught and released later die from the injuries or stress.”

Instead, Brooklyn Bridge Park should teach kids about caring for the environment by “trash fishing,” a practice of fishing garbage out of the water that a father and son devised in Detroit, Michigan, which the animal rights activist group honored.

“PETA’s youth division gave a Hero to Animals Award to an 11-year-old boy and his father who fish for trash, not sea animals, out of the Detroit River,” she said. “‘Trash fishing’ could be an educational and helpful alternative to your clinics that would show children how to be good stewards of the environment.”

The corporation’s chief shot back at the actor-activist saying that the program’s expert fishers handle the marine life with care by using barbless hooks, which cause less damage to the animals before they are released back into the East River.

“I do not believe we teach kids to harm fish, we teach them to fish respectfully and responsibly,” said Brooklyn Bridge Park President Eric Landau.

Landau said that the animal rights activists had reached out to him last month with a letter, which he responded to, before they got the high-profile performer on board to vouch for their cause.

The honcho noted that catch-and-release fishing was a common practice in parks across the Five Boroughs, adding that the Conservancy’s program has been a success and that he would green light it if they ask to run it again next year.

“Over 500 kids have attended the workshop,” Landau said. “I can’t speak to whether the Conservancy is going to do it again, but we felt it was a positive and successful program and if the Conservancy did want to do it again, I would not deny them from doing that.”

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Posted 12:00 am, September 13, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
I represent PASPFF people against shooting people for fun. Its the height of chutzpah for one of the cast members of one of the most violent and misogynist shows on tv complains about catch and release fishing.
Sept. 13, 5:20 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
I bet she supports abortion "rights".
Sept. 13, 6:19 am
Meghan from Bay Ridge says:
Hurting animals isn’t fun - end these please. Do something to help sea life instead, like a garbage pick-up.
Sept. 13, 8:17 am
Barbara Seville says:
Who cares what I think?
Sept. 13, 8:24 am
Tyler from pps says:
Always guaranteed that "Rufus" will have such compelling and rational commentary.
Sept. 13, 8:36 am
Barbara Seville says:
Rufus is absolutely correct ‘Tyler’. One day we will look back on this era of thoughtless, unbridled baby-killing like we look back on slavery and Jim Crow and we will say ‘what we’re we thinking???’. Guaranteed that every ‘statue’ of Cuomo will be toppled and every picture of Alyssa Milano will be burned, as they oughta be.
Sept. 13, 9:16 am
Steve L from Greenpoint says:
Can’t wait till the baby boomer generation is gone and all this silly anti-abortion —— with them. It’s always these old geriatrics that have such a problem with a woman choosing her own future.
Sept. 13, 10:32 am
Local from Here says:
Barbara is right, you know.
Sept. 13, 10:32 am
Local from Here says:
Nobody cares what Barbara thinks, she's an idiot.
Sept. 13, 10:38 am
Paula Renee says:
Edie is right. Research on fish sentience has revealed that fish have excellent long-term memories, are savvy social learners, develop cultural traditions, and use tools. They also feel pain. It's time for a sea change. We should pay attention to what science is showing us (and what common sense has told us all along), and let fish live in peace.
Sept. 13, 11:47 am
KimMarie from Greenpoint says:
Edie is right. Fishing is the equivalent of stabbing humans with metal hooks to pull them underwater so they die a slow, painful death. Hard pass.
Sept. 13, 11:53 am
AMD says:
This is such an important message. Thank you, Edie, for supporting kindness towards animals.
Sept. 13, 2:30 pm
LucyP says:
Bravo, Edie! There is so much violence in the world already--we should be teaching kids to respect live and treat all living beings with compassion.
Sept. 13, 2:37 pm
Luis from Crown Heights says:
Humans don't respond kindly to impeded destruction and harm to all living things. Honk!
Sept. 13, 2:42 pm
eddie lavelle from usta b cg says:
if you can't tell the difference between art and real life, or the difference between a life and a potential life, then it makes it really tough to have a rational discussion.
Sept. 14, 6:34 am
SCR from Realityville says:
If they actually eat the fish,they catch,what is wrong with that? Does everybody,have to pay $20.00 plus,per LB. for"fresh fish";(previously frozen fish)-at Whole Foods,or upscale fish stores? If the fish are just thrown in dumpsters,then the needless slaughter,should be stopped.
Sept. 14, 9:20 pm
Jane from Brooklyn says:
I’m so glad that finally someone is taking a stand for animal rights.
Sept. 15, 4:31 am
Jennofur OConnor says:
Thank you, Edie! I agree: Faking out fish with an easy meal and hooking them for "fun" is cruel and frankly, strange. Leave fish in peace.
Sept. 16, 1:15 am

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