|Yours truly with an Allen's Fresh Yellow Perch (2002)|
While yellow perch thrive in other parts of the Chesapeake Bay, the small, gold-green fish have declined in the Magothy, Severn and South rivers in Anne Arundel County.
When they swim up the rivers in late winter to spawn, the effort fails year after year. Researchers have determined the females’ eggs are flawed — the yolks aren’t formed correctly and the egg membranes are too thin.
Could it be toxic chemicals in the water? Pesticides? Birth control pills? Antibacterial ingredients from soap and hand sanitizer?
“We think it's related to urbanization,” said Fred Pinkney, an environmental contaminants biologist based in Annapolis with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The theory is that more contaminants are washing off into the water from urban sprawl - homes and roads and parking lots that are sprouting around rivers.
Just what contaminants are harming the fish eggs remains unknown.
So what happens when it turns out to be birth control pills; ban them in urban areas?