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Nippertippers
October 20, 2007 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Vigilante conservationists or racist thugs? Some residents of northern Ontario towns claim Torontonians without fishing licenses are poaching in public waters. Their solution? Sneak up behind the anglers and throw them (and their gear) in the lake. After a 13-year old and a 72-year old were both dunked, the most recent incident ended in a car chase that put a 23-year old in a coma. The catch? All the victims are Asian. The locals call it nipper-tipping.
posted by anthill (67 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Correction: not all the victims are Asian. Discuss.
posted by anthill at 7:54 PM on October 20, 2007


Yeah, I'm going to have to go with the "racist thug" thing.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:54 PM on October 20, 2007


The hell? There have been a couple Asian men pushed into Lake Michigan here in Chicago as well. A quick Googling shows that I'm not the only one to notice the coincidence (or connection, as the case may be).
posted by enn at 7:56 PM on October 20, 2007


Can't they be both?
posted by sudasana at 7:58 PM on October 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


nice
posted by rockhopper at 7:59 PM on October 20, 2007


Although I find this amusing, there must be law enforcement procedures already in place that would serve the community better than forcing people into the drink and getting them all wet. Obviously these procedures are operating under the expecations of said *ahem* 'tippers'. Still, pushing someone is assault is it not? Those same law enforcement procedures should take in the tippers as well as the tippees. I see no winners here. I see no good guys or bad guys. I also see no racism; just stupidity. Admittedly it's hard to tell one from the other.

The more I look at humanity, the more I enjoy laughing at it.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:03 PM on October 20, 2007


Of course it's racist. You think the attackers are really checking their fishing licenses? The thin being named after a racial slur not clue people in enough? For fuck's sake.

I live near this area. There's a lot of racism. If I personally witness this, they'll need to find a cutesy name like "hick-beating" for my response.
posted by mobunited at 8:20 PM on October 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


ZachsMind: please, for the good of the community, throw yourself into a lake whilst fully clothed. Do this as soon as is practicable. Wear boots.
posted by chlorus at 8:25 PM on October 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's not Northern Ontario.
posted by davey_darling at 8:27 PM on October 20, 2007


ZachsMind: please, for the good of the community, throw yourself into a lake whilst fully clothed. Do this as soon as is practicable. Wear boots.
posted by chlorus at 8:25 PM on October 20 [+] [!] No other comments.

I am not really seeing what you are all in a huff about. Care to explain?
posted by KingoftheWhales at 8:33 PM on October 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yes, Lake Simcoe is hardly "northern".

I dunno about the whole thing. Giving it a name makes it seem a lot more organized then I think it really is. It seems like shitheads being shitheads. Film at 11 I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 8:35 PM on October 20, 2007


KingoftheWhales: feh.
posted by chlorus at 8:39 PM on October 20, 2007


davey_darling: I've come to realize in my short time in Ontario that many, many people from Toronto and south consider anything north of Toronto to be "Northern" Ontario.
posted by synecdoche at 8:45 PM on October 20, 2007


I see no winners here. I see no good guys or bad guys. I also see no racism; just stupidity. Admittedly it's hard to tell one from the other.

How on earth is throwing everyone of a particular race into the lake "NOT RACIST"? please. How do they know these people don't have fishing licenses? I dunno how it works in Canada, but in the U.S you generally get a license for your whole state, not for a single lake.

But these people are simply assuming "not white = no license" that's like normative racism. Bleh.
posted by delmoi at 8:56 PM on October 20, 2007


KingOfTheWhales, Chlorus is in love with me and likes pulling on my pigtails.

Delmoi, This has nothing to do with licenses. They're just trying to protect the fish and could care less whether or not the fishermen have government permission.

Which is even more amusing. SAVE THE SALMON!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:00 PM on October 20, 2007


Sounds racist to me. My wife is Asian, and we live in Victoria, what has to be the whitest enclave in Canada. She's hardly one to make a fuss, but sometimes she says she feels uncomfortable here.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 PM on October 20, 2007


Delmoi, This has nothing to do with licenses. They're just trying to protect the fish and could care less whether or not the fishermen have government permission.

Protect the fish by chasing people down and putting them in comas? And just by coincidence only Asians?

Yeah, right.
posted by delmoi at 9:21 PM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've lived in Toronto. It's like Manhattanites who consider anything west of the Hudson river to be "out west".
posted by Justinian at 9:22 PM on October 20, 2007


Nipper please.
posted by ColdChef at 9:23 PM on October 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


Oh, Canadia.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:24 PM on October 20, 2007


this will last as long as someone doesn't get shot doing it

someone will, of course
posted by pyramid termite at 9:31 PM on October 20, 2007


Racism is just part of it. It's also city vs. country, locals vs. out-of-towners, kids vs. adults, and pranksters vs. unsuspecting citizens perched on the edge of water in the middle of nowhere at some godless hour as if they're just begging to be pushed in by drunk kids sneaking up behind them.
posted by pracowity at 9:43 PM on October 20, 2007


Nipper-tipper

What is a pastie? I'll take Wrong Way Slang for 400, Alex.
posted by loquacious at 9:49 PM on October 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't see the "or." Vigilante conservationist racist thugs. Sounds like a perfectly good description. There's nothing in "conservationist" that precludes "racist." And of course "thug" goes very well with "racist" and "vigilante."
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 9:53 PM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


My wife is Asian, and we live in Victoria, what has to be the whitest enclave in Canada.

Surely you jest. Victoria is nothing compared to pretty much everything between Vancouver and Toronto.
posted by ssg at 9:54 PM on October 20, 2007


I'm not surprised. There's always been tension between the white locals and the asian fishers. Has been since I was little. I remember going to regattas north of Toronto and being told i couldn't fish there and to move along. As if since I was chinese I couldn't possibly be a sailor.

I was born in Canada. I'm pretty whitewashed but still proud of my heritage. That being said sometimes i see these fishers and I get annoyed. I want to push them in the water. Or get them to speak english or something. You see a lot of them they keep everything they catch. Fish that are too small to be kept. Garbage fish. Everything. They chatter away loudly in tagalog, vietnamese, korean, chinese, whatever. They fish where there's boat traffic. They fish where there's no fishing signs. Some of them are obviously poor and from a lower socioeconomic strata than me. For reasons I'm ashamed to admit I look down upon them. Sure there are locals who flout the conventions too, but maybe I tend to be more annoyed by their hickness in general and less by their fishing specifically. I then feel guilty as if I've betrayed my immigrant parents somehow.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand the feeling that they are somehow spoiling things and generally being uncouth. Obviously shoving them in the water is the wrong solution.
posted by captaincrouton at 10:19 PM on October 20, 2007 [6 favorites]


delete *For reasons*
posted by captaincrouton at 10:20 PM on October 20, 2007


"this will last as long as someone doesn't get shot doing it."

And if we're really lucky, someone else will be there with an iphone and upload it to YouTube so we can all see it!
posted by ZachsMind at 10:30 PM on October 20, 2007


Nipper tipping? That's like me calling all white people micks or kikes.

Nip, chink, gook... seriously white people, get it right.
posted by DaShiv at 10:30 PM on October 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


davey_darling is right. That's NOT Northern Ontario.

And hell yes it's racist.
posted by arse_hat at 11:04 PM on October 20, 2007


so, can we finally put to bed the notion that canada is some kind of colour-blind free-love wonderland? no place is more degenerate and backwards than a canadian resource town. i say that as someone who grew up in one and split at the nearest opportunity.
posted by klanawa at 11:15 PM on October 20, 2007


Victoria is only UltraWhite if you count Asians as white. Which seems to be sort of a de facto "invisible minority" status for the Northwest (both Canada & US): LarryC's Seattle segregation post struck me that way - all about black:white segregation in the discussion and not much about the huge (east) Asian population in Seattle (and Vancouver, Victoria, etc).

Though I am not at all discounting your wife's experience, KokoRyu, I know Victorians can have quite Victorian attitudes.
posted by Rumple at 11:16 PM on October 20, 2007


The Asians in Perth have a pretty good rep for stripping the reefs of abalone.

An abalone season had to be introduced not long after the Asian influx (for want of a better term) in the early 80s.

But to be honest, I can't remember how popular abalone was before this time and why there was no need for policing of this practice.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:19 PM on October 20, 2007


In Vancouver the no fishing areas where poaching was a problem now have signage in English and a few other locally spoken languages.

The "tippers" local DFO must love having the pressure taken off them, as now the whole focus turns away from illegal fishing in the area to racism.

I mean, heaven forbid they try working with immigrant groups to build an awareness campaign and oh, I don't know, hand out brochures to people they see poaching that have been printed in the dialect of most of the poachers. But somehow I doubt this is really about a few fisherman who don't have licenses.
posted by Salmonberry at 11:31 PM on October 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The more I look at humanity, the more I enjoy laughing at it.

But this isn't really that funny. Not every issue can be reduced to cute one-liners.
posted by Soup at 12:07 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've looked for the promised information in the linked articles about city-slickers poaching back-water fish, flagrant unlicensed angling, and critical fish-stock conservation concerns.

So far though, all I've learned is that a rural town has some teenage punks in it.

I think I need new glasses.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:14 AM on October 21, 2007


You know, I think more and more these days, at least some of the time, that I'd rather just stay here in Korea and bear the brunt of racism directed against me (because I can mostly laugh it off, and it's more ignorance than malice, for the most part) than go back to Canada some day and have my wife be forced to deal with it, coming from the other direction.

The only problem is children -- if we have 'em, I don't want 'em going to school here. Fuck, I don't know. It's so disheartening sometimes. And Victoria was one of the places I was thinking about, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:46 AM on October 21, 2007


Soup: "Not every issue can be reduced to cute one-liners."

Yes it can. It's done every day here in The Blue.

In some other thread I read recently that even amoebas are racist. Unless the food supply is depleted in their vicinity and they are forced to work together for purposes of survival, amoebas tend to only interact with other amoebas that share their genetic code.

For all our posturing and evolving, human beings really aren't much smarter than one celled organisms. Our barbaric tendencies cause us to revert to US vs THEM mentality at the drop of a hat. They are different from us. We are superior. They are inferior. Whether you call your personal "Them" Nippers or Infidels or Wetbacks or Niggers. Same difference. It's US vs THEM. We're all still cave men grunting and throwing rocks at the moon... and each other.

But you're right Soup. That's not funny. You can't whittle racism down to one-liners. So I prefer to think these are environmental crazy people saving fish by killing people. That is HIGH-LARIOUS.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:28 AM on October 21, 2007


Stavros, you're going to get it wherever you go. Even if you settle in a cosmopolitan town, somebody'll have problems with you as a biracial couple and would prefer you both in some other neighborhood where that other race lives.

Always fish together and facing in opposite directions.
posted by ardgedee at 2:34 AM on October 21, 2007


Nip, chink, gook... seriously white people, get it right.

Yeah but those examples don't rhyme with "tipping". Although "chinks in the drink" could work.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 4:01 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing you first heard of this in the same place I did. Racist? Macleans seems to think so.
posted by dreamsign at 4:12 AM on October 21, 2007


uncanny hengeman, you might find this of interest:
A Brief History of Monterey County
The Chinese Fishing Village



I do not see much environmentalism in the Canada story. If that were the motivation, the response should be increased law enforcement, not personal assault.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:31 AM on October 21, 2007


Although "chinks in the drink" could work.

Or "gooks in the soup"?

just trying to be helpful
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:33 AM on October 21, 2007


This really disturbs me. Not for the reasons everyone else says though. It disturbs me because I cannot swim. So if someone playfully pushed me into water above my head, for whatever reason, there is a chance they might kill me.

Pushing someone you don't know into water isn't playful fun.
posted by srboisvert at 5:34 AM on October 21, 2007


Stavros, maybe you should consider home-schooling.

On preview, and after checking your posting history, probably not. You really are in a predicament, I guess.
posted by Slap Factory at 5:36 AM on October 21, 2007


Kirth, I had a gut feeling that was the reason in Perth as well.

"Hey you Asians! Stop over fishing that reef dwelling beastie that we never thought of eating before!"

But probably still doesn't justify raping the reefs. Still a part of the ecosystem. And not to say non-Asians wouldn't have developed a taste for it anyway. Japanese food became popular around the same time, with almost zero Japanese immigration.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:50 AM on October 21, 2007


You know, I think more and more these days, at least some of the time, that I'd rather just stay here in Korea and bear the brunt of racism directed against me (because I can mostly laugh it off, and it's more ignorance than malice, for the most part) than go back to Canada some day and have my wife be forced to deal with it, coming from the other direction.

The fact is, there's racism no matter where you go. Here in Canada, we're simply a little more polite about it. The "nipper-tipper" goons are merely one of the inevitable exceptions.
posted by spoobnooble at 6:40 AM on October 21, 2007


I think Pyramid Termite is right. Eventually one of this fisherman is going to be packing, based on fear due to other attacks, think Bernie Getz, and then a bunch of the punks are going to get killed. No good will come from this.
posted by caddis at 6:42 AM on October 21, 2007


spoobnooble writes "The fact is, there's racism no matter where you go."

The other fact is, the amount and severity of racism isn't equal everywhere.
posted by Bugbread at 7:01 AM on October 21, 2007


And Victoria was one of the places I was thinking about, too.

Stavros, Victoria ain't that bad, and your wife would like here - there are plenty of Korean folk, and the mild annoyances she would experience as an Asian would pale (no pun intended) in comparison to what you have to put up with every day living in rural Korea.

It's just that, returning to Canada after living in Japan, I had expected the place to be all 'I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke' and harmonious. But there is a nasty undercurrent here sometimes. While foreigners in Japan, for example, are treated as a Curiosity, Asians in Canada are sometimes treated as an Enemy.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:04 AM on October 21, 2007


Eventually one of this fisherman is going to be packing, based on fear due to other attacks, think Bernie Getz, and then a bunch of the punks are going to get killed.

No one's mentioned Chai Soua Vang, the Hmong refugee who murdered six fellow hunters after they told him to leave private property?

Er, but they called him nasty names, so I guess they had it coming, eh?

Looks like some poor Hmong chappie has been killed only a few days ago - hunting related, and in the same area.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:16 AM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


As others have said, KokuRyu, Victoria may be pretty white, but relatively speaking it's no enclave. Best supermarket in town (Fairway): Asian. Best sport in town (Dragonboating): Asian. Best drink in town (Bubbletea at that place on the west end of Fisgard St.): Asian.
posted by anthill at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2007


Outrage filter, based on an article with a strange editorial slant.

He said slant.

Let us look at the Star article again.

Since April there have been three cases of assault, mischief and theft against the mostly Asian-Canadian fishermen in the area.

Does three cases against mostly Asian-Canadian fishermen mean two were against Asians and one not? Or were the fishermen of mixed race? Or were they in groups? Three cases doesn't make a comprehensive sample.

The incidence that caused the serious injury that made this a newsworthy story happened to a man named Shayne Berwick. His parents are named Colin and Terry. I know that in multicultural Canada kids whose parents came from the Indian subcontinent are going off to school with names like Alistair and Krystyl but Shayne Berwick doesn't sound very Asian to me.

It seems that in that incidence this was a group of teenagers from suburban Toronto. Probably like any group of teenagers from suburban Toronto of different heritages but all sounding and dressing alike. These weren't funny little immigrants with strange languages continuing the fishing traditions of their Asian island home.

Four of the fishermen sped from the scene in their Honda Civic.

Wait, a Honda Civic. That's one of those ricewagons, isn't it?

On April 27, a 13-year-old white boy was thrown in the lake late at night. He had been near a 72-year-old Asian-Canadian, whose fishing gear was damaged.

BOY ASSAULTED FOR STANDING NEAR ASIAN MAN.

On July 22, a middle-aged couple of Asian descent suffered a minor assault; their car windshield was smashed and a baseball cap stolen.

All cars be on the lookout for a scruffy caucasian youth wearing a Yomiuri Giants baseball cap.
posted by TimTypeZed at 8:09 AM on October 21, 2007


I'm originally from Northern Ontario. Like, Northwest shore of Lake Superior. So, Lake Simcoe ain't North.

We now live in Toronto, which I believe to be a genuinely successful multicultural city, so I sometimes forget what some of the smaller towns could be like.

(stavrosthewonderchicken , move to Toronto. You won't have problems)

"Vigilante conservationists or racist thugs" ? Clearly some variant of the latter. There's no big organized protest against the act of fishing itself, and as someone's already mentioned, there are agencies and avenues for enforcement of the licensing.

I don't believe there's a well-developed "we hate all Asians" racial issue either, I think it's mostly just hick ignorance, a small-minded fear and aversion to those "not from here", those who are different or act different, and the fishing on their turf is a slim excuse to act ignorantly. That, and alcohol.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:24 AM on October 21, 2007


Stavros, you're going to get it wherever you go.

I'm not mixed, so I'm not sure, but I don't think you'd have a lot of problem in San Francisco, Berkeley, or Oakland, or any of the rest of the towns in the California Bay Area flats.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:10 AM on October 21, 2007


This really disturbs me. Not for the reasons everyone else says though. It disturbs me because I cannot swim. So if someone playfully pushed me into water above my head, for whatever reason, there is a chance they might kill me.
That's what happened to Du Doan in Chicago. I don't think you could say that pushing him into the lake was "playful": it was clearly a really malicious act. I'm a pretty strong swimmer, and I'm sure I'd be really traumatized if some random stranger pushed me into a lake out of the blue. But it's very unlikely that the guy who killed Du Doan meant to kill him. The killer was drunk and stupid, and it probably never occurred to him that his target might not know how to swim. He'll very likely spend most of the rest of his life in prison, which might be something for the thugs in Ontario to keep in mind. I don't know if they have a felony murder law in Canada, but in the U.S., if you accidentally kill someone while committing a felony, you're guilty of murder, not manslaughter.
posted by craichead at 10:27 AM on October 21, 2007


stavrosthewonderchicken, I'm from the midwestern U.S., not Canada, so maybe it's a different situation, but my fiancé's Asian and I'm white and we've never had to deal with any racial backlash in the years we've been together. If my man has ever had any troubles on his own with racism, he's never mentioned it to me. I mean, I know it exists but I don't think it's anything to be that fearful about.
posted by Jess the Mess at 10:39 AM on October 21, 2007


damned peripheral vision thing!
posted by greenskpr at 2:47 PM on October 21, 2007


Despite what most Canadians think, most Torontonians actually do pass for Canadian. Torontonian here seems to be a bit of a euphanism. Sure, people say mean things once I tell them I live in Toronto, but before that people are pretty nice.

So what do you do when you see people keep small fish that should be thrown back? Do that un-Toronto thing and say something, hopefully politely. Make gestures. Or call Parks Canada, or the RCMP.

Don't such people think of Asians as the model minority?

Sorry if this sounds shrill. I clicked on a link to the National Post and now I feel dirty.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:03 PM on October 21, 2007


P.S. Stavros. These nipper tippers are assholes, but as a new Canadian, I really do believe this country is more positive about multi-racial people and couples than almost any other. (Please notice, I didn't say tolerant. I have really come to hate that word).

I hate so much about Toronto, but one of the things I love is that multi racial people are visible and a pretty normal part of life here. Your kids wouldn't be half white, or half Asian. Torontonians, and I think many Canadians, recognize such classifcations pretty insulting. Fewer than 25% of the kids on my block have parents of the same race/ native language.

Who says that everything between Toronto and Victoria is white? The ugliest manifestations of rascism in Canada are to do with aborignal peoples, and Asian labour. Anti Asian, anti-Indian sentiment are huge factors in the history of Alberta, Saskatchwan and Manitoba. (Not to mention, Ontario, Quebec and all of thos little provinces I don't have the patience to name).
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:25 PM on October 21, 2007


Thanks for all the words of reassurance, everyone. I'm not really sure if and when we'll head to Canada -- no time soon, probably, unless someone randomly offers me a job -- and I guess it's just been so long since I've lived there that I really don't know what it's like these days. We lived for a few years in Sydney, in Australia, and there were no really noticeable manifestations of nastiness (to us, at least), so it gives me some hope that Canada, at least urban Canada, is actually, for the most part, as welcoming to people as it claims to be.

For what it's worth, I have no fear of racist idiocy -- I'm not what you might call a wilting lily when it comes to dealing with assholes -- but, like I said, I really do not want my wife to have it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2007


...to have to deal with it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on October 21, 2007


You could live anywhere in Vancouver and fit right in. Or the Okanagan. Or Calgary. Any decent sized population is going to be fine. Except...

no place is more degenerate and backwards than a canadian resource town.

Ain't that the truth.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on October 21, 2007


>no place is more degenerate and backwards than a canadian resource town.

>>Ain't that the truth.


Yeah, I grew up one of them in Northern BC (and I am indeed degenerate and backwards in many ways, heh), and much as I still love the place in a nostalgic kind of way, there's no way I'd want to raise a family with my (lovely, talented, smart and tough, but unworldly) Korean wife back there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:33 PM on October 21, 2007


I've come to realize in my short time in Ontario that many, many people from Toronto and south consider anything north of Toronto to be "Northern" Ontario.

I know someone who considers anything north of Bloor to be terribly far north. I wish I were kidding.

It's like Manhattanites who consider anything west of the Hudson river to be "out west".

The outer boroughs? Here be dragons.

Eventually one of this fisherman is going to be packing, based on fear due to other attacks, think Bernie Getz, and then a bunch of the punks are going to get killed.

And then fingers will be pointed southward, as is all too common.
posted by oaf at 8:15 AM on October 22, 2007


The outer boroughs? Here be dragons.

:)
posted by caddis at 8:29 AM on October 22, 2007


You see a lot of them they keep everything they catch. Fish that are too small to be kept. Garbage fish. Everything.

You see this a lot with local Hmong at county parks (which are stocked with fish annually). Large groups of people with poles and 5 gallon buckets working the park lagoons - any living thing that comes out of the water goes in a bucket. It's not so much fishing as harvesting, it's almost mechanical in it's efficiency and I can see where people might get annoyed. That being said, I have yet to hear of anything like "nipper tipping" around here.
posted by MikeMc at 10:09 AM on October 22, 2007


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