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Can You Be A Sustainable Angler?
While all fishing can have some degree of impact on the environment, you can lessen your footprint with these simple tips for selecting more sustainable fishing gear.
Sustainable Fishing Gear
To ensure fisheries continue to thrive, many anglers are taking steps to preserve their favorite spots – and species – for future generations to enjoy. That may mean adhering to regulations to prevent overfishing like bag limits, avoiding specific species at certain times of year and using more sustainable fishing gear.
When it comes to eco-friendly fishing gear, there are more and more options available on the market today. Here are some popular choices to consider:
- Eco-Friendly Fishing Lures: One of the best ways to practice sustainable fishing is to use biodegradable fishing lures. Since rubber doesn’t break down, in the water or in a fish’s stomach, a good substitute is biodegradable plastic that will dissolve over time. An added perk to these eco-friendly options is that the soft lures can be made in all colors and designs to attract your target fish just as effectively as traditional lures.
- Eco Fishing Weights: Not only is lead toxic to humans, but it’s dangerous for fish as well, causing both physical and behavioral changes. That’s why many manufacturers today produce sinkers made from safer materials that will cause less damage if ingested or left in the water. Some common substitutes used in non-toxic weights are brass, steel, tungsten or tin. You’ll also want to make sure they’re chip resistant to prevent paint loss in the water. And remember that while these variations may be a little more expensive than lead lures, the benefits outweigh the costs.
- Eco Fishing Line: Like lures, anglers today can opt for biodegradable monofilament line fishing line that breaks down faster yet still has the same performance characteristics as regular line. Even if you don’t have biodegradable line, you can take steps to properly dispose of your traditional line to reduce your impact on the environment. For example, many bait shops, fishing access points, piers and other spots have designated collection bins for discarded monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing line.
- Other Eco Fishing Tackle and Equipment: Anglers have several other eco-friendly options nowadays. For example, when you’re choosing hooks, opt for circle hooks instead of J-hooks to minimize internal damage if you’re practicing catch and release. Look for rigs made of materials like glass beads. Pick knotless nets. Instead of using fresh bait collected from fish habitats, choose artificial. And when you’re picking out other gear like waders, bags or boxes, look for those made from recycled materials.
Beyond fishing gear, there are other ways to practice eco-friendly fishing. If you catch and release, in addition to choosing barbless circle hooks, be sure to use the right eco-friendly fishing lures for the species to avoid exhausting the fish, keep your catch wet and limit the time the fish stays out of the water to increase the chance of survival.
It’s also important to pay attention to the area around you. Take your trash with you to prevent fish and other wildlife from eating or getting caught in your rubbish. If you’re boating, consider rowing or paddling a canoe rather than a motorized choice. If you do go in a power boat, be careful when you’re navigating over fragile habitats and be careful to prevent fuel spills.