Thursday, February 17, 2011

Protecting the Resource -- What sustainable fishing means to me and why.

“This blog entry is my submission for the GreenFish and Outdoor Blogger Network Writing Prompt Giveaway”

What does sustainable fishing mean to me? I think the first step is to breakdown what sustainable truly means. The second definition of sustainable in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary states "to keep going: PROLONG". I can think of no better words to explain what “sustainable fishing” means to me. The question I now have is – How do we do this?

In the last few weeks there has been article after article written regarding the “massacre” of thousands of large striped bass by commercial trawlers off the coast of NC ( ) This hits home for me for two reasons. The first, I truly love catching striped bass. The second, I truly love my home state of North Carolina. As I looked at the pictures of these fish floating lifelessly in the waters behind trawlers I honestly could feel a “pit” forming in my stomach. The timing of this writing prompt is impeccable. Outcries were heard from anglers and sportsman across the country and immediately actions were taken to temporarily halt the actions of the trawlers until an investigation could be completed. Long story short – they are at again with some minor rule changes. The problem, in my humble opinion, still exists. It is not truly the fault of the Captain of a commercial trawler no more than it is the fault of the recreational fisherman who improperly handles a fish prior to release. It is the ignorance in believing the unique and wonderful resource (no matter the species) will always be there. This is a true illusion. The demand for food and the increase in recreational fisherman continues and will continue to rise. The lack of respect for the game being chased and the lack of knowledge of how to release the catch back into its habitat is the true issue.

In preparation for this writing prompt I had the privilege of visiting the GreenFish website. ( The only thought that came to my mind as I was reading this was... “Finally.” How truly delighted I was to read the basics on how to release a fish and why. As insignificant as it may sound – each fish that is properly returned is one that you or I may have the opportunity to fight another day, not to mention that fact that this fish has the opportunity produce more fish.

Why do I really care? The answer is simple. I have three daughters who truly love fishing. I have three daughters that are the age when every living thing matters. They still have an innocence and a softness about them that is very difficult to put into words. I have been able to once again see life through their eyes and understand that if we do not protect things for them nowwho will?

I have never been accused of being Einstein, however, I am smart enough to know that if each one of us who fish or spend time on the water will do our part – we will have a massive effect. Those of you who know me, know that I love to hunt and to fish. In each of these sports, the respect of the game is crucial to being successful. In hunting – one shot should equal a quick harvest. In fishing – enjoy the fight, take a great picture, and properly release the fish. Who knows, you may get to enjoy that fight again.

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r.b. wright

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