To help maintain the quality of fishing in the U.S., various fish conservation strategies are utilized. Fisheries management is a complicated task because aquatic systems are always in a state of fluctuation and fish preservation methods try to meet the goals of anglers, which also changes from time to time.
The rules for the fish conservation strategies are determined by different sources which can be at the federal, state, and/or local level, depending on the size and location of the body of water. Fisheries managers and biologists collect and record sampling data and try to use this information in their fish conservation methods to protect and maximize the fishing potential. Data on spawning habitat and timing, fish growth rate, and water quality all goes into setting regulations, which are a critical part of any fish conservation strategies.
Once regulations are set, conservation officers do their best to enforce these rules. However, it is essential that every angler understands the importance of fish conservation and abides by these rules even when not constantly monitored. Everyone must “play by the rules” or the regulations and effectiveness of the fish preservation methods may suffer for everyone.
Catch and release is an integral part of most fish conservation strategies, but just knowing to release a fish is not enough. To increase survival, anglers need to gain skill with catch and release techniques on how to fight, what hooks to use, and how to handle each species after landed. Fish is delicious but there are great options to skin-mounts such as replicas, art drawings, or photographs so those big trophies can help keep the system balanced and maybe can delight other anglers too.
Simply by renewing fishing licenses, anglers are making significant contributions to fish conservation strategies. Funds generated go toward efforts such as additional fisheries research, habitat protection, education, and stocking. Something to think about the next time you land a whopper.