An Angler’s Marine Conservation Efforts

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 08, 2016

Can you guess what this angler did on behalf of fishing conservation? Read to find out how she helped to prevent overfishing and protect sport fishing for future generations.

Every time you go fishing with someone new, you have the opportunity to share helpful tips and information about marine conservation. As an example, I had the pleasure of fishing with fellow blogger and angler Gabriella Hoffman during her visit to Southwest Florida. Since Gabriella was new to fishing the inshore waters of Florida, she asked a lot of questions and was open to learning as much as possible from local anglers.

If you are taking someone new to your state fishing, share as much as information about conservation-friendly angling practices as you can and encourage them to ask questions. Besides, it makes for good conversation between bites. Anglers who are on vacation or who are new to fishing in your local area will probably remember most of the information you share.

Gabriella used and remembered these conservation-friendly fishing practices as a result of her experience in Florida.

Fishing Conservation Practices

  1. She learned about the Florida saltwater fishing regulations. You should always take the time to read and learn the fishing regulations before taking a trip to a new state or waterway. Species identification is also very important. After all, if you aren't able to identify a fish properly, how will you know what the length limits and bag limits are to prevent overfishing? Gabriella took the time to learn about and study the species she knew she would be targeting, and so should you.
  2. She used the appropriate tackle so that the fish could be brought to the boat quickly, reducing the amount of stress placed on the fish. Some anglers like to catch fish on light tackle because of the challenge, but you should consider the amount of time you may be fighting a fish if your tackle is too light. The longer it takes to bring a fish to the boat and release it, the more exhausted the fish can become. Particularly if you are new to fishing, ask an experienced angler or do some research on the proper tackle and line to use.
  3. She used a circle hook because she was fishing with live bait. Circle hooks can be used whenever you are fishing with live bait. Due to the shape of circle hooks (the tip or point of the hook is curved inward), they have a much lower likelihood of being swallowed by the fish.
  4. She held the fish horizontally with bare, wet hands. Teach new anglers to use wet, bare hands when holding fish. Fish have a protective slime coating that prevents them from getting infections. If an angler uses a glove or towel, part of that slime coating is removed and will expose the fish to disease and parasites.
  5. She revived the fish. Once you bring a fish to shore or to the boat, quickly assess the energy level of the fish. If the fish appears to be tired or lethargic, be sure to revive the fish until the fish can swim away under its own power.
  6. She released the fish. Even if a particular fish species is in season or within the legal length limits, you may still choose to catch and release it to help avoid overfishing. The less fish that are taken from our waterways, the more fish that will be available for future generations of anglers to catch.
  7. She helped to spread the word about circle hooks. Once Gabriella returned home after her visit, she wrote about her experience with catch and release using circle hooks to help spread the word. How are you helping to share the marine conservation message?

Now that you know what Gabriella Hoffman did on behalf of fishing conservation, hopefully you will be more conscious about being a conservation-minded angler too. If you are getting ready to take a fishing trip to a different state, be sure you can properly identify the fish species that are found in that state.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.