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‘Keep hookers off the pier’

I live in Florida. Maybe it’s the salt air. Or too much sun. But I’m becoming convinced we should change our nickname from the “Sunshine State” to the “Wingnut State.”

Forgive me if this has no relevance to normal life elsewhere, but when I got up this morning the sun was bright and sky clear blue. I read my email and looked at the local newspaper. Between the Southwest Florida Marine Industry Association’s email warning about banning fishing in Naples and seeing a political half-page ad urging people to “spot the yacht,” I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s too early to think, liquor cabinet.

Southwest Florida Marine Industry Association is alerting members that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has initiated a campaign to ban fishing at the Naples Fishing Pier.

(Full disclosure: I, too, am a member of PETA — People Eating Tasty Animals.)

On Saturday, PETA plans to fly banner over the Naples Fishing Pier that reads: “Keep Hookers off the Pier — Ban Fishing.” I can see it now — dozens of anglers enjoying their Saturday morning on the pier, holding a spinning rod in one hand while sending up internationally recognized hand gestures to the plane with the other.

Of course, PETA has historically spoken out against all fishing. It claims fish have unique personalities, retain memories, think ahead and can even recognize human faces. I’m not making this up. So fellow anglers, never piss off a big shark you release; he knows your face, and he might come back for you.

And speaking of remembering, it was PETA that once proposed renaming all fish “sea kittens” because “no one would want to hook a kitten.” That campaign bombed because there was a clear declaration by millions of people: I like my sea kitten deep fried!

But PETA has an ally in Naples council member Linda Penniman, who advocates for no fishing on the pier. She plans to push it at the next council meeting, Aug. 13.

“PETA is sure to be attending,” responded one angler to the news. “Thank goodness school will be in session, or PETA would probably show up with kids dressed up as Nemo and Dory.”

SWFMIA is urging members to attend the meeting and make it clear that the 49 million Americans who went fishing last year, whether from a boat or a pier, see PETA’s position as nothing short of unhinged.

And, after all, I live in Florida.

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