The issue of catch and release fishing has attracted a lot of attention recently, particularly on this BB. So here is some grist for the mill:
The on-line journal‘Fish and Fisheries’ will be publishing an article written by about a dozen authors entitled ‘Angling for endangered fish: conservation problem or conservation action?’. The authors postulate that allowing recreational angling on endangered fish may be indirectly beneficial to those stocks when those same recreational anglers take specific, personal actions to help protect the stocks. I cut/pasted the abstract below.
This issue has been debated on this BB many times. As anyone who frequents this BB will note, FishDoc has been pilloried/skewered/drawn/quartered on this BB on many occasions for his insistence on C&R for stocks that are of significant concern (e.g., Kenai Rv Chinook), as opposed to a complete closure and absentence of all angling. I don’t mean to re-ignite the issue, however,the authors premise seems to reflect FishDoc’s stance on the benefits and challenges associated with recreational angling, particularly C&Rfishing. On a personal level,this article is entirely inconsistent with my personal view that fishing is never good for the fish. However, I will try to approach this issue with an open mind.
“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 donationsor 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.”