Dan Rattiner's Stories

Hamptons Fishhook Ban: Blocking the Ocean Views Is Now on the Table

Ban Fish Hooks is an organization created on the model of the Ban Plastic Straws organization.

A 30-foot-long humpback whale, dead, washed up onto the sand at Cupsogue Beach in West Hampton Dunes last week. As its weight was so great it could not be moved, a big pit has been ordered dug in the sand next to it, and, when completed, the whale will be gently pushed over into his grave by bulldozers and backhoes. One wonders, however, if burial is a good thing, since this is a waste of valuable whale oil and whalebone. What are women going to do for stays in their girdles? And how will the community light the street lamps without whale oil? Well, they’ll think of something.

While the whale awaits burial, however, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society is spending a half a day looking it over and taking samples of it to see if they can determine how it died. Meanwhile, Doctor Lechter, the pharmaceutical industrialist billionaire who has an oceanfront mansion in West Hampton Dunes, has sent out tweets demanding that the Conservation Society look closely to see if there is a fishhook in this dead whale’s lip.

“Myself and other members of our new Ban Fish Hooks organization are convinced that the use of fish hooks to catch fish is a deplorable practice. It is a traumatic experience for a fish, even a fish as large as a whale, to have a fishhook caught in its lips, even a tiny one. How would you like it? It’s not like the teenagers who have deliberate lip piercings as a fashion statement. They want to do that. Imagine getting a fishhook in your mouth, even a tiny one, all of a sudden without your permission,” he tweeted.

Ban Fish Hooks is an organization created on the model of the Ban Plastic Straws organization. Members carrying signs reading “Smack with Mallets, Not Stick with Fishhooks” demonstrated for half a day at the Fisherman’s Bureau in Flanders last Wednesday. The goal is to ban fishhook use. According to Doctor Lechter, surfcasters using rod and reel often congregate on the beach in front of his house, spoiling his view of the sea.

“Banning fishhooks will do away with all the trauma fish experience,” Lechter wrote to President Trump last week. “They see a piece of food, they open their mouths, a hook catches and either they get away with an unwanted fishhook permanently attached to their lip or they are hoisted up against their will to the surface, then dragged onto the beach where they flop around in agony until they die. This is what I have to see every day out my picture windows. The fishermen should go out in rubber waders and whack fish with mallets if they really want to catch fish. Death would be painless and instant.”

Doctor Lechter has partnered with an environmental group demanding the end of fishhook use. The group is “Stop Fish Agony,” which, our star staff reporters have learned, was just formed and is headed up by Harold Beef, an executive overseeing employee relations at Doctor Lechter’s New York City based firmInternational Worldwide LLC. Beef has been tasked to head up “Stop Fish Agony” until the legislation passes.

“Studies have shown that fish are much happier hauled up into a net where they can socialize with other fish before they die,” said Beef on Monday.

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The effort to ban fishhooks must be taken seriously. You may recall that Doctor Lechter created a protest group called Oil Tankers Be Gone, which, during the first week of the Trump Administration, succeeded in getting a law passed requiring ocean-going oil tankers that pass along close to the south shore of Long Island to do so further out to sea, so as to be less visible on the horizon. There had been a documented case—a huge crisis right after the Trump inauguration—where an oil tanker, traveling at 18 knots just offshore our surf, almost ran over a baby seal, leaving it alive but traumatized. A Seal Appreciation Party was held on the beach in front of the Lechter mansion the next day.

After that, Trump stepped up to the plate and issued an executive order making it illegal for tankers to travel so close to the shore here. It is happening in stages. In the first stage, as of April 1, 2018, they can be no closer than just on the horizon. In the second stage, which is to take place this coming October, the oil tankers will be out there over beyond the horizon, and thus no longer seen from a Long Island beach by Doctor Lechter or anybody else with an oceanfront home. This two-stage order has been widely applauded.

As for the Lechter billions, I’m sure you remember the famous legal case describing how Doctor Lechter made his money and avoided jail in 2011. Chemists at his small pharmaceutical firm FixaTrik had invented Oxylechter, a small, round blue pill marketed as a mood stabilizer. Five hundred million bottles of Oxylechter were sold to Americans before it was found that FixaTrik had lied about having been approved by the Pure Food and Drug Administration and that continued use led to addiction, the hiccups, limping, zombie stiffness and skin rashes, particularly on the noses of everyone who used it. What a disaster.

Fish hooks
Photo: iStock

Fortunately for him, Doctor Lechter secretly learned ahead of time that criminal charges would be filed against FixaTrik executives and so immediately resigned as Chairman and CEO, sold all his stock in an offering to the public, and promoted Wilbur Whipple, the Vice President at FixaTrik in charge of quality control, to take his place. And so it was Wiggins who went off to jail for life while Lechter opened big bank accounts offshore. Quite the coup.

You may also recall the lawsuit filed by the widow of the former owner of his oceanfront property six years earlier. She claimed she had sold the land at a deeply discounted price because Lechter had assured her he would donate the property to become a disadvantaged children’s public playground and park. Lechter, of course, denied he had said any such thing, and so during the lawsuit tore down the widow’s old beachfront shack while she was still in it, built his mansion and put walls up all around to keep the eager disadvantaged children out. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out on a technicality.

Today Lechter stays busy. His new firm International Worldwide LLC has cornered the robocall market. Every third phone call you get comes from a call center owned by Lechter.

By the way, Lechter has no professional license that could entitle him to be called Doctor. A high school dropout, Doctor was the name his parents, Kingpin and Nurse Lechter, owners of the largest bowling alley in Buffalo, New York, gave him when he was born.

Donald Trump tweeted early this morning that he intends later today to issue a new executive order banning fishhooks, noting that fewer surfcasters means more fishing trawlers, and that’s good for business. He mentioned ship building, the National Rifle Association and extra gasoline use.

In further fishhook news, it’s been announced that the Long Island Surfcasters Association based in Mastic, after long, acrimonious debate, voted yesterday to put themselves on record opposing the banning of fishhooks.

Also, another new group is forming. It’s to be called “Kiss a Fish,” but that’s all the information we have at this time.

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