/Fish to our rescue? 

Fish to our rescue? 

By Jim Poling Sr.
lakes opening, winter-weary minds turn to fish. A fish netted in the
open water floating your boat is genuine proof that spring is here. 
however, provide us with benefits beyond the simple joys of rod and
reel. They help maintain biosphere balance, provide vital protein for
millions of humans, and even give comfort to folks with home aquariums.
there is news that fish might hold the key to saving millions of lives.
Some scientists believe that fish slime has antiseptic powers that
might be used to develop new, much needed antibiotics.
World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that antibiotic resistance
in microbes such as bacteria is growing to dangerously high levels. More
and more infections, such as pneumonia, blood poisoning, food poisoning
and gonorrhea, are becoming harder to treat as antibiotics become less
WHO says that antibiotics are becoming less effective because of overuse and misuse. 
instance, a U.S. study found that 23.2 per cent of antibiotic
prescription fills in 2016 were “inappropriate” use of those
medications. The most common conditions for which those antibiotics were
prescribed were coughs, colds and chest infections. Antibiotics kill
bacteria but are not effective against viruses that cause coughs and
has started a campaign to prevent and better control drug resistance by
educating and advising individuals, health care professionals and
policy makers, as well as investing in research to find new drugs and
urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which
common infections and minor injuries can once again kill,” the health
organization says.
the acronym for antimicrobial resistance, now causes 700,000 world
deaths a year, WHO reports.  Some researchers believe that without
urgent action now, drug resistant infections could kill 10 million
people a year by 2050. That is more than the number of people around the
world who die annually of cancer.
antibiotics that infectious germs are not familiar with need to be
developed. Most current antibiotics were developed from microbes that
live in soil. Now the search has moved to other environments. That’s
where the fish come in.
produce a slimy mucus on their skin for a variety of reasons, the most
important being protection against parasites, harmful bacteria and
fungi. Microorganisms in the mucus have chemical mixtures that some
scientists believe might be useful in developing new antibiotics.
so far have found that certain chemical mixtures from fish slime have
been found to tackle some staph infections, some E coli and even some
colon cancer cells.
a long way to go before we know whether fish slime can help develop new
drugs needed to fight germs that have become resistant to the current
ones. However, there is hope and considerable excitement about research
work being done with fish slime.
with the spring fishing season here we fishers need to remind ourselves
that whether or not fish slime can produce beneficial drugs for us, it
is still important to individual fish. We need to be careful how we
handle fish in catch-and-release situations.
is a protective barrier critical to good health of a fish. It keeps out
tiny bacteria and keeps in essential fluids and electrolytes. A break
in the slime coat is like a cut on human skin. Losing a swath of slime
is like peeling off a large piece of skin from a human body.
It is difficult to land a fish without disturbing its slime, but there are ways to minimize slime damage.
inexpensive knotted, hard nylon nets are like running a rasp across
fish skin. Coated nylon nets without knots are less damaging. Even
better are rubber nets.
also are fish grips for pulling in a fish by the lower lip and avoiding
touching its body. The key to using them is to keep the fish
horizontal, and not vertical, to avoid stress on its body.
if a fish is laid on the boat floor for hook removal, keep it well
wetted. If the hook cannot be removed quickly and easily, cut the line
and leave the hook in when you release the fish. Steel hooks rust and
eventually fall out, which leads to another reminder: use regular steel
hooks, not stainless steel which does not rust.