With rising concern about the environment, every activity is now being conducted in a green manner, including fishing. Some methods of fishing are dangerous and harmful to fishes, leading to unnecessary deaths. Sustainable fishing methods help to preserve fish species for future generations, or else we would be handing them a legacy of a world which has very few fish species left. If you are a passionate angler, here are some sustainable fishing tips you can follow:
Using eco-friendly fishing boats
Fishing boats use a lot of fuel which emits greenhouse gases too. New engines are available in the market which burns much less fuel. Green technology has allowed fishing boats to be much friendlier than before, which you can use when you go out fishing.
Check the tackle
Take a good look at the tackle you have been using. If your tackle contains lead, change it for green tackle and jigs, sinkers etc. The lead might poison animals and fish, so use tin or steel tackle and instead of plastic lines, choose a fishing rod which has a biodegradable line.
Let smaller fish survive
You could make a huge difference to smaller fish species by releasing the smaller fish, which, along with the bigger fish, get caught in the nets. Not only individuals but if fishermen also started doing this, instead of fish dying, the unwanted smaller species would have a chance of survival. New technology can now allow fishermen to let fish escape due to tiny pockets and keep the bigger fish. This means that fish population can increase and their health would also be better.
Governmental agencies and local wildlife conservationists should set down limits together regarding the size and possession of the fish caught by anglers. This would prevent fish from being overfished.
When you fish, you should fish only the number you are going to fish. Take minimum bait with you, which should also be local, as foreign bait can harm the fish. Live bait is the best bait, as plastic baits can be left on riverbeds.
Learn about sustainable fishing methods
The following fishing methods do not, generally, cause harm to oceans, but they are better than other methods:
Hook and lining or pole catching
In this method, a fishing pole with just one line and many hooks is used. It’s a good method, as anglers can release fish they do not want from the hooks, as soon as they are caught.
Weirs and floating traps which guide fish into small boxes, do not harm the environment or the fish. Reef nets, which are used to fish salmon in Northwest, are shallow and near to the surface nets, into which the salmon swim into, and are then tipped straight into the holding tanks.
Harpooning is considered a sustainable way of fishing (big fishes such as swordfish), as there is no bycatch.
In this method too, fishes are hooked individually. The lines are not handheld but trolling involves towing individual anchored lines from the moving boat. Unwanted fish or bycatch is minimum and can be released quickly.
Fishing methods you should avoid
Dredging or dragging a mesh bag made of metal along the seafloor to catch fish like shellfish (oysters, scallops, and clams). This causes a lot of damage to the marine habitat, as along with fish, other types of sea life, such as sponges and fish are dragged in, and they do not survive the harsh dragging.
In this, the openings in the net curtain which hang at different depths, are big just for the head and not the body of a fish, trapping the fish. The openings vary depending on the size of the fish. Gillnetting is not considered sustainable in some parts of the world as the nets can accidentally catch and kill marine animals such as sea turtles. However, in Alaska, gillnetting is a sustainable method to fish salmon, as there is a very low level of bycatch there.
Longlining, purse seining and trawling are other harmful methods of fishing.
Responsible fishing can help to conserve many fish species around the world. Angling is a great hobby, and with a little consideration, you can help fishes and other sea creatures survive.