Gr8-White is dedicated to marine conservation, including protecting ocean waterways and saving natural fisheries. Tomorrow is July the 4th, I am sure many of us fishing enthusiasts will be hitting the water. We want to remind anglers that it is every angler’s duty to do his or her part to conserve our marine resources. One of the best and widely used ways to do this is through the practice of “Catch and Release” fishing. After each capture, simply unhook and return the catch to the water before they experience serious exhaustion or injury. It has been practiced world-wide for as long as more than a century and has been proven to be an effective way to ensure sustainability and to avoid overfishing of fish stocks.
Here are a few tips for you to start practicing catch and release:
- Use barbless hooks
- Use small, non-offset circle hooks, preferably ones with the least amount of distance between the hook point and shank. Fish caught on small, barbless circle hooks are usually hooked in the jaw, which means they have a much greater chance of survival after being released than fish hooked in the throat or gut.
- Avoid excessive fish fighting and handling times
- Keep the fish in the water when unhooking it whenever possible
- Avoid damage to fish skin, scale and slime layers by nets, dry hands and dry surfaces (that leave fish vulnerable to fungal skin infections)
- Avoid damage to throat ligaments and gills
- Use de-hookers whenever possible to help remove hooks quickly
- Cut the line if the hook cannot be removed easily
- Use a landing net made of rubber or knotless nylon, if necessary
- For deep-sea fish (caught at least 30 – 50 feet below the surface), some cannot adjust their physiology quickly enough to follow the pressure change and suffer “barotrauma”, symptoms including enormously swollen swim-bladder protruding from their mouth and bulging eyeballs. Fish with barotrauma will be unable to swim or dive due to the swollen swim-bladder. Upon release, deflate the swim bladder by pricking it with a thin sharp object before attempting to release the fish.
We all have a responsibility to conserve marine resources so that our children and our children’s children will be able to enjoy the same excitement that we have had in landing that trophy catch. It will be great if you can stick with the principle and release every single catch. If you have to keep some fish for dinner, please limit it at a reasonable amount. Please don’t take more than you will consume. The fun of fishing lies in the sporting experience, and practicing Catch and Release will ensure that precious experience in the long run.
(Picture credit to Jay Roeder)