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Thread: Angling for endangered fish: conservation problem or conservation action?

  1. #1
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    Default Angling for endangered fish: conservation problem or conservation action?


    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.”

    (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journ...SSN)1467-2979)

  2. #2

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    Thanks for the link Coho, but I couldn't get it to work. I'd like to read the full report, but one part of your abstract caught my eye:

    "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. licenses), 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. "

    That is CLEARLY not the case on the Kenai. The largest proponents of C&R fishing on the Kenai are most certainly not the most vocal proponents of fish and habitat conservation. In fact, while they are very effective in allocative processes like the last UCI BOF meeting, it is because they expended ALL of their energy to that end. There was no participation from these groups with regards to protecting habitat or increasing waning productivity.

    Take for instance, the ER King, where the in-river fishery is the only local fishery actively engaged in fishing this stock. Has it helped those fish? Quite the opposite, they're in the worst trouble. That's ok, we'll just tag the few returning ones in hopes of minimizing commercial interception in the inlet. That'll give my kids more ER kings to catch in the future, right?

    If that is the only benefit to C&R fishing a weak stock, I'm not buying it.

    Thanks for the thread Coho, I appreciate the opportunity to explore this side of the C&R debate. Hopefully we can keep the philosophy/ethics on the other thread, and keep this one a little more fact-based.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Here's a link to the full article: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/assets/Co..._Fisheries.pdf
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Thank you!! Truth be told.... I couldn't get the link to work either. I should have deleted it. But thanks for the help.

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