A point of contention among anglers of all kinds is how often we should be employing the “Catch and release” philosophy. Should we always be letting the fish go when we’re on the open water, or can we keep certain kinds of fish? How do we know? Today we’re going to be examining the issue from both sides. So, what’s the story on catch and release? Let’s take a look.
Why should you catch and release?
Catching and releasing fish has been considered good practice to help combat overfishing. Certain types of fish have had problems maintaining a healthy population over the years such as sharks and bass. Thus, catch and release became the norm when dealing with these types of fish. After all, we want to be able to enjoy lots of offshore fishing trips and tournaments with friends and family year after year. Shouldn’t we be taking measures to keep fish thriving? Absolutely, and many anglers agree on this. Catch and release has become the norm for most forms of fish, taking on an almost religious seriousness. Many foundations have sprung up to protect fish of all sorts. An example of one is the Billfish foundation that protects all manner of billfish from overfishing. They implemented a tagging system for their fishermen so that they could collect data on the billfish. It is now one of the largest private billfish tagging communities in the country! These tagging programs often provide highly useful information not only for anglers, but for marine biologists too!
Science says that catch and release may not always be the answer.
Biologists are starting to point out that smaller, more aggressive fish actually eat a whole lot more than their larger counterparts. This causes the fish with the potential to grow big and strong to lose some of that potential. Suddenly the fish are adapting to their new environment, and this means staying small and learning how to not get caught. This can lead to larger schools of fish simply evading capture and, though it’s a useful evolutionary trait, it will negatively impact the fishing community in the long term.
Balance is key.
Sometimes it’s good to catch and release, but you might want to keep some of your fish. Balancing keeping your catches and letting them go is going to be the best solution in the end.
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