“Rec-Tech” Fishing Techniques Emerge at “CHOW”
Scientists and the marine conservation community get a close look at refined recreational fishing techniques, “Rec-Tech”, at the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation’s Capitol Hill Oceans Week (CHOW). Washington, D.C. – “Capitol Hill Ocean Week” (CHOW) offered the perfect venue for The Sportfishing Conservancy to unveil a groundbreaking new initiative that partners science and conservation with a goal of enhancing not only the numbers of wild fish, but specifically managing for bigger fish. CHOW is a special event in Washington DC, hosted by the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, that provides scientists and the conservation community a chance to get together with fishermen and others, then share their work with those who can help put it in play.
“Ask most recreational fishermen about their impact on the environment and they quickly point out that they consider themselves conservationists and with their light touch, have little or no adverse impact on marine resources. However, if you ask a marine biologist the same question the response is about the cumulative affect of such a huge numbers of fish
hooks in the water. Clearly recreational impacts on marine resources are misunderstood by both fishermen and by fisheries scientists”, said Tom Raftican, president of The Sportfishing Conservancy. “Truth be told, large numbers of recreational fishermen can have dramatic negative impacts on resources, however by employing simple changes in their approach to fishing these same individuals may instead play a vital role in the sustainability of at-risk resources”, Raftican added.
Recreational fishing enjoys an important social and economic role across the country, according to US Fish and Wildlife numbers, recreational marine fishermen spend more than 85 million days on the water fishing each year. It’s important to understand that while each angler may only catch a fish or 2, when you do the math, the results are huge. “Asking scientists to work with us to help define specific recreational fishing techniques designed not only to exert minimal impacts on marine resources, but also to increase the number of big fish is an exciting concept”, said Raftican.
“The Sportfishing Conservancy’s recreational techniques, or “Rec-Tech” was designed to not only increase fish populations, but also ensure that big fish survive. Largemouth Bass anglers have known for decades that big fish are too valuable to catch only once and “Rec-Tech” has simply asked the scientists to help carry this concept to sportfishing’s marine counterparts”, he added. “Rec-Tech helps change the way fishermen define a successful day on the water away from the old “ I caught a limit” to one of increased adventure and opportunity that big fish provide”, said April Wakeman, Programs Coordinator for The Sportfishing Conservancy. “Rec-Tech” employs tools and techniques that not only improve sustainability, but also make fishing more fun and exciting”, she added. The Sportfishing Conservancy works to empower sportsmen to fulfill and celebrate their commitment to their sport and to real world conservation.
“I want to make sure that my sons and daughters have the same chance to tackle record fish that I have enjoyed”, said new mom and The Sportfishing Conservancy’s Conservation Director, Jenny Armstrong. “Scientists and anglers working together not only make this possible, they are making it fun. We are finding ways to target and treat fish differently and these challenges really add to the sport”.