What makes conservation fishing great for the environment?
To answer that question, it’s important to know what conservation fishing is and how it differs from sport or commercial fishing. Conservation fishing, also known as sustainable fishing, is a small-scale activity involving just you and your fishing pole. The emphasis is on your enjoyment of the hobby, not the amount of fish you haul in and bring home. Consider how this type of fishing benefits you and the environment.
It’s a Selective Process
When you fish sustainably, you catch one fish at a time. Meanwhile, commercial fisheries use large nets to catch thousands at once. As an individual with a single fishing pole, you’re not making a marked impact on fish populations—especially if you release your fish after you catch them.
There Is No Bycatch Involved
Bycatch refers to fish and other marine creatures that are caught by accident; it often happens with the use of nets and trawlers designed to bring in large amounts of fish. A common example of bycatch is dolphins getting ensnared in nets meant to catch tuna.
When you fish with conservation in mind, you leave most of the marine animals alone and avoid disrupting delicate ecosystems.
It Maintains Fish Populations
Humans are an essential part of the global food web; it’s not a bad thing to catch fish for the purpose of eating them. However, overfishing can impact the balance of an ecosystem by depleting populations of fish that play their own crucial role in that particular food web.
Sustainable fishing strikes a delicate balance between overfishing and leaving prey species to overpopulate the ecosystem. Several species, like varieties of bass and trout, are in no danger of extinction and can safely be fished for individual consumption. Taking a few fish home is just as conservation-minded as releasing them all.
Conservation fishing is good for the environment for a variety of reasons; you’re making minimal impact on the ecosystem by fishing with a hook and line. Whether you release each fish you catch or take a few home in accordance with local bag limits, you’re playing an important role in the ecosystem by enjoying your hobby.