While it is clear that we are that humans are endangering many animal species around the world, we usually know only half the story. A huge part of both our planet’s area and its flora and fauna lies in the water. Furthermore, owing to the fact that we have explored only a tiny fraction of this area, we don’t usually know of our impact on it. However, the little that we know has shown that here the impact of is even worse than on land. Activities like fishing are posing dangerous threats to marine animals. It might be the wake-up call now. If we don’t start fishing sustainably now, we might as well give up fishing altogether.
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 tips for fishing sustainably that you can follow:
Tips for fishing sustainably
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Stop overfishing
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.
5. Learn about sustainable fishing methods
6. 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.
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.
Why sustainable fishing?
We should fish sustainably not just because for the sake of the environment, but for our sake as well. It as apparent now that our lives our connected to that of our environment. In fact, the fishermen are leading a hard life. The number of fishes is declining, stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating.
Some fish, such as the blue fin tuna, have disappeared completely following intensive fishing. The fishermen say that the implementation of fishing curbs and other measures to keep Mediterranean and Atlantic waters alive are affecting their traditions and livelihoods.
According to EU figures, North Sea stocks of cod (the emblematic fish in the Atlantic) have dropped by three quarters in 30 years. At the same time bluefin tuna, once the pride of the Mediterranean has seen stocks drop by 80 percent. Furthermore, there is a warning by the journal Science that 29 percent of seafood species had collapsed which has created a bitter cycle of recrimination.
Crisis for Mediterranean bluefin tuna is just as dire. Mediterranean used to be the commonplace for fishermen to catch tuna weighing up to 1,100 pounds. Monster size tuna are now extremely rare. Furthermore, fishermen are sapping stocks by catching very small tuna before they can reproduce. They place tuna in cages to be fattened so they can be sold.
The result of these acts of fishermen might commercially extinct the species in 5 to 10 years years. Adra was once the most important fishing ports of Southern Spain, 20 years ago it had 15 large trawlers and 50 smaller boats but now there are 15 in all. The stocks of anchovies were fabulously rich in waters off Morocco.
Consumers in Europe scramble for seafood from remote corners of the world. The action recognized by EU has been hampered by the need to satisfy competing national interests.
In pre-Christmas rite, the scientists had advised a full ban on cod catching in the North Sea, but the EU nations settled on a 14 percent cut. It is estimated that over 40 percent of bluefin tuna catches in the Mediterranean are illegally landed to escape quota constraints.