Sopranos star Edie Falco asks for end to fishing clinics

By Alexandra Heilbron on September 12, 2019 | 33 Comments

Edie Falco in Law & Order True Crime © 2017 NBCSopranos star Edie Falco, who was born and raised in New York, has asked Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Eric Landau in a letter to put a stop to the cruelty of “fishing clinics” in the park.

In these “clinics,” both adults and children catch fish on hooks, then toss them back into the water. She says the stress and the injury from the hooks and being handled causes the death of many of these fish.

Picutred at left in the 2017 series Law & Order True Crime, The Menendez Murders, Edie, who was a vegetarian for 16 years before going full vegan in 2017, would like to replace the clinics with “trash fishing,” in which participants would remove trash from the water and off the banks.

Her letter reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Landau,

Although we’ve come so far in understanding animals for who they are, even today, fish seem alien to most of us. But science proves that they’re complex beings who deserve our admiration and respect. As a Brooklyn native and an honorary director of PETA, I urge you to stop holding “Fishing Clinics” at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Being hooked hurts, and what may seem like a “harmless” game is deadly serious to the fish. The evidence of their desire to live is obvious from the way they fight to survive at the end of a pole as they’re pulled from their natural environment. Handling fish to remove hooks can also cause damage. 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. Many fish who are caught and released later die from the injuries or stress.

In a letter to PETA, you stated that you aim to “foster respect of our waterways and the fish that live there,” but surely, the best way to show respect for other animals is to leave them in peace. Most children have a natural empathy for animals, and that kindness should be nurtured, not undermined by teaching kids that it’s OK to hook fish and yank them out of their natural environment for “fun.” There are so many ways to encourage young people to appreciate the outdoors without harming its native inhabitants. 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. “Trash fishing” could be an educational and helpful alternative to your clinics that would show children how to be good stewards of the environment.

May I hear that you’ll make this year’s clinics the last?

Edie Falco


Comments & Discussion

  1. J • September 12, 2019 @ 10:15 AM

    I agree with Edie. A very painful and pointless activity.

  2. Tim Kelly • September 12, 2019 @ 10:45 AM

    I agree with Edie 100%. Stop the fish clinics. It’s pointless and cruel.

  3. Mike Ram • September 12, 2019 @ 11:06 AM

    Have we not learned from Jaws or Sharknado that fish are dangerous. By fishing there we are sending a message that humans are in charge here…not dangerous fish. Without these clinics sending a message to the fish world and of our dominance we are opening the door to potential disaster. Edie should stick to being Tony’S wife.

  4. Mary Finelli • September 12, 2019 @ 11:30 AM

    Cheers for Edie Falco! Science has indeed shown that fish suffer fear and pain. Needlessly causing animals harm is animal abuse, and encouraging children to abuse animals is grossly irresponsible. There are so many ways to nonviolently enjoy and appreciate nature. Fishing is not one of them. “Teach your children well.” Teach them kindness not cruelty.

  5. Mary Finelli • September 12, 2019 @ 11:33 AM

    Scientific acknowledgement that fish suffer fear and pain:

  6. Maria McLeod • September 12, 2019 @ 11:38 AM

    I agree with Edi Falco, or even motorized mechanical fish as well as garbage. No living creatures to be tortured.

  7. Terry • September 12, 2019 @ 12:46 PM

    Good for you Edie. Too many people are ignorant of the pain & suffering of fish — it has to stop right along with all the other animal cruelty.

  8. S. Peers • September 12, 2019 @ 1:45 PM

    Mike Ram,
    I know you are joking here but thats the technique of distortion and fear monger it used by certain websites to target policies or politicians that those people behind the website want to stop or oust. It’s the technique used by those who want us to be afraid of Muslim people. In your case you wanted laughs but what you did is also how people push others buttons to make them hate and fear a person, group or minority. It’s sad that we allow our emotions to be swayed by people with no moral scruples who probably despise those they are using ☹️

  9. Lee Mac • September 12, 2019 @ 2:02 PM

    Maybe give the hurt little fishies to the thousands of Starving Homeless
    people around NYC

  10. Mac Palance • September 12, 2019 @ 3:44 PM

    To Lee Mac . Alas the thousands of starving homeless people would get how many of the little fishies by the time they were collected one at a time , cleaned and delivered
    And since the intended recepients are homeless who will cook them ? Leave the fish as a part of the marine environment . They are part of a complex system that needs to to be left alone in places . We have pillaged the oceans to point of depletion already.

  11. J Warren • September 12, 2019 @ 3:46 PM

    S. Peers, regarding your comments to Mike Ram, THANK YOU for your very positive words. People so often overlook the power of casual words, which can undermine confidence and conviction -especially in young people are struggling to form and live within their values.

  12. Don Vanetti • September 12, 2019 @ 4:07 PM

    What I idiot this women is. Take a kid fishing is about spending family time with the kids. Your a fool it impose your vegan b/s on the city.

  13. Joe Madden • September 12, 2019 @ 4:23 PM

    I fish every summer and fall.Catch and release.

    I eat fish too, on occasion.

    I eat meat as well.

    Fruits and vegetables. Love ’em.

    Vegans, such as Falco and others of her ilk would have you believe that they are morally and ethically superior to people like me.

    This is nonsensical. As denizens of this planet we are part of a reciprocal system that rely on each other (even plants)for nourishment.

    Yes. Plants rely on the dead bodies of animals for nutrient growth. Every biologist knows this.

    I will continue to fish and release those I have caught so they may continue to grow and live and EAT other animals. Some will probably rely on me some day. I’m good with that.

    Remember this. No such thing as a vegan on a desert island.

  14. Mister Pym • September 13, 2019 @ 10:15 AM

    I’ll close my fishing clinic if she does something about that hair.

  15. Paula Renee • September 13, 2019 @ 12:53 PM

    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.

  16. Kim Marie • September 13, 2019 @ 12:59 PM

    I agree with Edie. We should be teaching kids compassion, not violence.

  17. Craig Shapiro • September 13, 2019 @ 1:09 PM

    Yes, yes, yes! Imagine what it’s like being yanked from your home by a hook through the mouth.

  18. AMD • September 13, 2019 @ 3:25 PM

    This is such an important message. Thank you, Edie, for supporting kindness towards animals.

  19. Lucy Post • September 13, 2019 @ 3:37 PM

    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.

  20. Mary • September 13, 2019 @ 3:48 PM

    Edie is RIGHT. This does not teach children any good thing!! If theyre going to learn to fish teach them the right and humane way to do it fishing for food, not just sport!

  21. Sally • September 14, 2019 @ 9:10 AM

    How does Ms. Falco and all these people replying feel about abortion?

  22. Charlene • September 14, 2019 @ 10:03 AM

    God put animals including fish on this Earth so humans would be able to feed themselves. And a wonderful family activity. I still fish today and eat what I catch. I like the idea of giving the fish to the homeless. Better yet teach them so they won’t be hungry.

  23. Lisa M • September 14, 2019 @ 3:17 PM

    These discussions are always fascinating.

    It always reveals ones personal limitations and lack of good arguments/reasoning to insult people personally instead of seriously considering or respectfully responding to their suggestions. All she makes making is a request. Whether or not one agrees with her reasoning or her assertions, she is making a point worth considering. I know nothing of her, but from this thoughtful discussion seems a smart, compassionate and articulate person. I do understand that people with moral objections to others behaviors can be heard as self righteous and morally superior, but I do not hear her this way in this carefully and reasonably written letter.

    Kudos to her for bringing this to our attention. Too bad people cant be more sophisticated by responding to logic and compassion with logical, respectful responses. We can do better, folks.

  24. Teresa Jones • September 14, 2019 @ 8:26 PM

    Its pretty obvious that these arent really clinics, but rather a more palatable way to label whats really entertainment at a living fishs expense.

  25. Laura Harrison • September 15, 2019 @ 8:57 AM

    This is cruel and barbaric. It should not be perceived as entertainment for children or adults. Nobody here is fishing for food. So many beneficial, educational and fun things to do in NY that don’t harm anything.

  26. James white • September 15, 2019 @ 3:00 PM

    This is so STUPID doesnt edie have more important things she could be advocating for change? I am a native american that love the enviroment and the many beautiful things the creator has blessed us with. I have thought about the same things in regards to the pain my fishing may be inflicting on the fish when I hook em as well. That being said i continue to be an avid fisherman and good steward of OUR enviroment. I do believe fishing clinics are a good thing . Finda bigger more important issue to use your celebrety for . Nya weh

  27. Jennofur OConnor • September 16, 2019 @ 2:17 AM

    Agree 100 percent. Leave fish alone. Is it really that difficult?

  28. Heather • September 16, 2019 @ 11:09 AM

    Perfectly logical request. Killing isn’t fun. And having a hook pierce through your lip and being yanked out of your environment doesn’t sound fun for fish.

  29. Joe • September 17, 2019 @ 12:54 PM

    Let’s make one thing perfectly clear.

    Edie Falco, being a member of PETA(a cult group that destroys hundreds of pets every year,by the way) wants people like me and others like me to stop fishing.

    Period. She just doesn’t want fishing clinics closed, but all fishing to cease.

    This idea that people are perpetuating that life should be cruel or rather more succintly, “pain” free,is psychotic in its face.

    Tell me, how many of the posters here have ever killed a mosquito or a fly or spider or a snake or had a pet destroyed or killed a mouse or ants or…

    All of you have. Every single one.

    Hypocrites one and all.

  30. Shay • September 18, 2019 @ 9:25 AM

    Hey Joe. The fact that you think everyone here has killed a mouse or snake makes me shudder. Nope, never. I catch and free mice that I find in my house (they go in a bucket, fully intact and are released about a mile away). Spiders are welcome. I love snakes. I ignore flies/help them get back outside. Ants are harmless, they come inside in spring and at some point, leave, but they’re welcome, they’re not dirty and don’t bother anyone. Pets aren’t “destroyed” and when I finally came to the realization that it was more cruel to let a pet suffer and starve himself in his last days than to have the doctor help him to a peaceful eternal sleep, I had to accept that, as difficult as it is. I once caught a fish when I was about nine. The hook went through his eye. I screamed until someone took him off the hook and he was thrown back, but I still hate what I did to him. I hope he was okay. In any case, don’t throw around the word hypocrite so easily. You have no idea what other people are doing or thinking. If you like to kill animals, then that’s you. Don’t categorize or judge anyone else because that makes you ignorant.

  31. Pat • September 18, 2019 @ 1:39 PM

    What a bunch of fragile buttercups here!

  32. Shay • September 18, 2019 @ 2:28 PM

    If by fragile buttercups you mean people who care about not taking the lives of other species because you think the only lives that matter are humans – who are often not humane, and even then you probably only care about the people you personally know in your small circle, then count me a proud buttercup.

  33. Pat • September 24, 2019 @ 6:16 PM

    Suck it up, buttercup.

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