Posts Tagged ‘protection’

Implementation Techniques for an Optimized Catch and Release Sport Fishery as a Tool for Sustainable Harvest

June 9, 2011

By Paul Reiss

(Complete Study: http://www.acuteangling.com/Reference/C&RProposal.html)

Introduction

Catch and release fishing has been demonstrated to be an extremely effective aquatic conservation and environmental protection mechanism. Widely used as a tool for the preservation of fish fauna, catch and release has been studied in great detail for nearly a half century. Shown to be more environmentally effective than the simple closing of aquatic areas, catch and release fishing is used in most environmentally advanced societies (1).

Aquatic fauna in any region, whether or not man is present, vary in population success over time, primarily due to a range of external factors and conditions. Natural factors define a fishery’s capacity to support fish of all types, for instance: Rapidly variable weather and water level changes directly affect the fish’s survival medium. Food supply and predation create an additional impact, typically cyclically raising and lowering specific species populations. Migratory behavior causes exposure to varied water types, conditions and hazards. Man, with his attendant environmental effects, such as commercial fish harvesting and pollution (water quality) can act as significant modifiers to these natural variables and incrementally affect the natural capacity of a fishery.

With few exceptions, in an unrestrained or undammed river system, man is unable to control natural factors. Therefore, uncontrollable natural conditions will continue to be primary defining factors of a fishery’s overall characteristics and capacities. Man’s artificial impact, whether minimal or extremely adverse, can, however, be controlled. Where an area is subject to significant human impact because of uncontrolled poaching, substantial improvements can be made by the introduction of low impact catch and release fishing programs. Increased surveillance of the river by catch and release fishermen can lead to significant reductions in poaching. Further, sport fishing produces regional economic benefits, resulting in greater community stewardship of the aquatic resources by the local population. Human impact can be made decidedly positive by substituting an intelligent program of non-consumptive, catch and release fishing (a form of sustainable harvest) for pre-existing, uncontrolled, haphazard exploitation.

This paper discusses the positive effects and applicability of the concept of catch and release fishing, using carefully selected techniques appropriate for the natural conditions and species make-up of a region. By using techniques that assure minimal environmental impact and very low mortality on fish fauna, sport fishing, with its associated tourism, can significantly increase the economic benefit to a region while simultaneously decreasing the incidence and negative impact of commercial fishing, poaching and meat hunting (100% mortality). A properly implemented program of catch and release sport fishing can create a human accessible fishery maintained in a natural state, protected by the alternative economic benefits brought to what might otherwise be an adversely impacting regional human population.

Specifically, this paper analyzes the potential environmental and economic benefits of applying a program of catch and release fishing on remote river systems on the fringe of the Amazon basin. Observations were made on a highlands river in the northern fringe of the Amazon basin to assess the sport fishing potential of the waters of the region. The species present, their sport fishing characteristics, spawning activities and the present effects of human activity were examined. These findings led to an analysis of the scientific literature available for the purpose of assessing potential catch and release mortality. Those results demonstrate that a catch and release program designed specifically for the observed fishery would create minimal environmental impact. (See the related paper, “Catch and Release Effectiveness and Mortality“.)

Observations of the result of implementing controlled catch and release fishing programs elsewhere in the Amazon basin show that such activities have resulted in the reduction of preexisting negative impacts on the environment and have created net environmental benefits. (See the related paper, “Observations of the Effects of Catch and Release Fishing in the Amazon Basin“.) Simultaneously, significant economic benefits have been observed in the regions involved as a result of controlled, selective, sport fishing tourism activity.

Understanding the environmental importance of Amazon fringe forest/savannah environments as a protective buffer zone of the Amazon basin as a whole and recognizing the value of the existing research performed in these unique ecosystems, as well as the future research potential, puts the necessity of protecting these regions into stark relief. The implementation of specifically designed catch and release sport fishing programs offers the potential of enhancing the protection of these regions as well as creating additional research opportunities relating to the regions’ aquatic resources.

To read the complete study, please click here.

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Sign the Earth Day Petition

April 17, 2011

From The Nature Conservancy, a wonderful organization whose mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive:

About this Petition:

Sign this petition to encourage others and join us as we celebrate the planet we live on, the food it provides and the people we share it with. Picnic for the Planet will be the world’s largest virtual picnic – and you are invited! Choose a favorite outdoor location, round up some friends and take the planet out to lunch! http://earthday.nature.org

The Desired Outcome of this Petition:

To protect the lands and waters we rely on for survival…for our food. One of the most direct ways you can help achieve this outcome is by changing your individual impact on the planet through simple actions like eating more sustainably and greening your diet.

Sign the Earth Day Petition

Meanwhile, here’s a big Pirapitinga caught on an Acute Angling trip for your Sunday viewing pleasure:

Pirapitinga

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