Casting no doubts: Fishermen fine with poop-filled creek

He’s catching something: An angler reels in dinner from the polluted creek.
Brooklyn Daily
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They don’t give a fluke.

Fishermen who drop their lines in Coney Island Creek are unfazed by news that a nearby apartment complex was recently caught dumping 200,000 gallons of raw sewage per day into the stream — and they aren’t going to stop eating their catches just because there’s a little extra seasoning in the water, one angler said.

“We’ve been coming here to fish and eating the fish for about 20 years, and nothing’s happened — why stop?” said Arlen Wagner, a Bushwickian who was plucking striped bass, fluke, and bluefish from the brook with his brother and nephew on Saturday.

Regulators discovered on Sept. 7 that roughly 1,000 apartments in 16 buildings were dousing the creek with waste water via an unsanctioned hook-up to an emergency storm drain. Officials say the problem is fixed, but they are not saying how long it was going on.

Four of six rodsmen in Kaiser Park on Saturday said they’d keep fishing there — the other two were only unsure whether they’d keep casting lines.

Activists tried to warn anglers, but they couldn’t hook them, one said.

“We tried to make them aware and some of them just don’t seem to care,” said Orlando Mendez.

Contact with sewage-polluted water — and eating fish from such seas — can lead to illness, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fisherman don’t seem to care, but the city should at least alert locals when the creek is also teeming with Coney Island Brownfish, Mendez said during an Oct. 7 rally pooh-poohing the city for not broadcasting that it discovered the fecal flow.

“There’s no educational effort. The city hasn’t reached out and notified anybody — not the residents, not the local elected officials, not the stakeholde­rs,” he said.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow him on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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