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Angling for endangered fish: conservation problem or conservation action?
February 17, 2014
12:42 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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June 13, 2011
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Fish and Fisheries - early view

Abstract

Recreational angling has been implicated in population declines of some marine and freshwater fish, but this activity is rarely considered as a threat or even halted when endangered species are targeted. Indeed, in some cases, anglers are drawn to fish for rare or endangered species. Conservation-oriented behaviours such as catch-and-release are often practiced voluntarily due to the ethics of anglers, yet even in these cases, some fishing mortality occurs. Nonetheless, there are many indirect conservation benefits associated with recreational angling. Here, we present a series of case-studies and consider whether catch-and-release angling for endangered fish is a conservation problem or a conservation action. If recreational angling activities contribute to population-level consequences that are contrary to recovery strategies, then angling for endangered species would seem to be a poor option. However, as revealed by several case-studies, there is much evidence that anglers are vocal and effective proponents of fish and habitat conservation, and for endangered species, they are often the only voice when other stakeholders are not engaged. Anglers may contribute directly to conservation actions via user fees (e.g. licences), philanthropic donations or by volunteering in research, education and restoration activities. However, it is important to quantify post-release mortality as well as understand the full suite of factors influencing a given population or species to know the potential risks. A risk assessment approach outlined in the paper may be used by managers to determine when the benefits of angling for endangered species outweigh the risks.

Cake or death?
February 17, 2014
4:24 pm
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Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
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This is a huge issue here in the Pacific Northwest. As much as I love to catch them, I say err on the side of caution and let the wild fish be. There is a local group of flyfishers that stage an annual demonstration on a local river to gain access to a wild steelhead population. The river is currently closed at the time of their arrival for spawning. They all gather and cast/fish with no hooks in hopes of getting media attention in order to pressure the powers that be to open the river for catch & release fishing. I don't support this.

" it is important to quantify post-release mortality as well as understand the full suite of factors influencing a given population or species to know the potential risks. "

There is no way of accurately measuring mortality rates of c&r fishing in my opinion. Too many variables. I've seen far too many people drag fish up on the bank, roll them around in the sand while unhooking, then kick them back in the river. Dead fish!

 

" there is much evidence that anglers are vocal and effective proponents of fish and habitat conservation, and for endangered species, they are often the only voice when other stakeholders are not engaged. Anglers may contribute directly to conservation action"

 

This is true but too often support is not offered selflessly to benefit the fish. Instead angling opportunities are demanded in return. I get tired of reading forum posts by whining fisherman. Protect the fish first!

Tribal fishing rights are a BIG issue here. Gill nets are not selective.

 

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