The Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors decided at its regular business meeting Sept. 13 not to change its policy on fishing at University Lake.
And OWASA board members and PETA protesters say the issue has lost salience in light of the recent terrorist attacks against the United States.
The board ruled against PETA's request to have fishing banned after Daniel Shannon, the group's fishing campaign coordinator, gave a presentation arguing that fishing constitutes cruelty to animals. The timing of the meeting, held two days after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania might have contributed to the board's decision, some OWASA officials said.
"The world is in crisis, and they're protesting fishing," said board member Mark Marcoplos. "It's a shame to see so much activism wasted on trivial matters when there are real problems out there."
On Aug. 15, OWASA officials received a fax from PETA requesting that they ban fishing at University Lake, which OWASA leases from the University for recreational purposes.
In PETA's statement, which is posted on its Web site, supporters claim fishing is a cruel practice because fish feel pain. The organization justifies its argument by saying, "without the ability to feel pain, they would not be able to survive."
In late August, Shannon said the group definitely would take action if OWASA failed to respond to its request.
After his presentation, Shannon, while not pleased by the board's decision, said he was satisfied with how the board responded.
"The majority of the board members were pretty receptive, and I was impressed with the attention they gave the issue," he said, "I'm sure that in time they'll make the responsible decision."