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Monday
Aug182014

Scientists Propose Length-Based Records for Threatened Species

When I first saw the following headline, I feared that this was one more assault on sport fishing by the preservationist movement:

Scientists Want to End Traditional Trophy Fishing of Threatened Species

But that is not the case. In fact, what these researchers are proposing makes a lot of sense.

“The most common method of certifying the size of landed fish is based on mass. But weighing large fish typically requires anglers to transport them to an official land-based weigh station—a method that makes it unlikely that the fish will survive,” says an article at Sciencemag.org.

“In many cases, this means the loss of egg-bearing females, because the females are larger than males in many species. So by killing big fish, the authors note, trophy anglers often remove individuals that are capable of producing the most high-quality larvae and helping depleted populations recover.

“Shifting to length-based records could reduce such mortality, says the research team, led by researchers at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. Anglers could use cameras or smart phones to validate catches and release record fish where possible.”

Additionally, scientists propose this for just 7 percent of the species on the list maintained by the International Game Fish Association. Those are the ones listed as either  vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

David Shiffman, the study’s lead author and a marine biologist studying shark biology and conservation at the University of Miami, says the analysis was inspired by recent hearings concerning a proposed ban on killing scalloped and great hammerhead sharks in Florida waters— two species listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

“Several anglers said they were opposed to protecting these species, one of which is so depleted that it just became the first species of shark protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, because it would stop them from going for IGFA world records,” he says.

Friday
Aug152014

What Are Anglers Buying?

What are anglers buying these days, at the height of the fishing season? Following are highlights from a May-June survey conducted by AnglerSurvey.com.

Purchases

  • Of those who made purchases, more than 2/3 purchased fishing lures and baits (71%)
  • People are two times more likely to purchase a rod or reel than to purchase a rod/reel combo.
  • 11% of those who made purchases purchased fly fishing tackle and accessories.

 Fishing Rods, Reels and Combos

  • Outdoor specialty stores account for 1/3 of all rod sales.
  • With 20% of all reel sales, Shimano is the preferred brand among buyers.
  • The average price spent on a rod/reel combo is less than that spent on an average rod or reel.

Fishing Line

  • More than 1/3 of those who purchased line purchased monofilament or superline/braid
  •  PowerPro was the most purchased fishing line in 2013 and 2014; Berkley Trilene was the most purchased line this month (15%)
  • 1/4 of consumers purchase fishing line at outdoor specialty stores or mass merchants 

Fishing Lures

  • Consumers are twice as likely to purchase soft baits as spinnerbaits
  • Twice the number of consumers purchased soft lures online this May than last May
  • Rapala was the top hard bait brand purchased (24%)
  • Most hard baits purchased from outdoor specialty stores (28%)
  • Berkley Gulp was the top soft bait brand purchased (14%)
  • Most soft bait purchased from outdoor specialty stores (23%)
  • In the last two years, Strike King was the most popular spinnerbait and jig bait brand
  • Most popular live bait is live worms and nightcrawlers (60%), with the majority under $5 each and purchased at local shops

Launched in 2006, AnglerSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. The information above represents only a small sample of the vast amount of data collected from the complete survey results and available to government agencies, businesses, the media and other interested parties. Results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States. Find them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/huntersurvey and http://facebook.com/anglersurvey.

Thursday
Aug142014

Green Decoys Argues TRCP Is Not Credible Voice for Anglers, Hunters

Activist Angler stopped promoting the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership awhile back, as I became more and more troubled by its political and financial ties to left-leaning groups, foundations and politicians. You can read one of my posts related to that here.

Here’s the essence of the issue for me: While TRCP has “conservation” in its name and many conservation groups for its members, it seems more closely allied, especially financially, to preservationists, many of whom want to restrict where we can fish and impose tighter gun controls. Some of those backers also believe that manmade climate change is “settled science,” and, as a consequence, advocate for ever tighter and more burdensome environmental regulations that are not supported by science.

I’m not suggesting that TRCP doesn’t do some good on behalf of fish and wildlife habitat. I believe that it does, and many of its coalition members are champions for fishing and hunting. But I also suspect that TRCP is a compromised organization and, over time, morphing into a preservationist Trojan horse amidst the conservation community.

With that in mind, today I received a press release from Green Decoys, which says, “A review of TRCP’s most recent tax records finds that it receives 77 percent of its contributions from just 8 donors, many of which are San Francisco-based environmentalist foundations.”

Will Coggin, senior research analyst, adds, “TRCP provides Big Green and Big Labor with a convenient mask for their agendas: Sportsmen. TRCP is nothing more than a puppet with a camo hat, in the pay and in the pocket of radical and left-wing interests . . .

“Sportsmen and other grassroots members of these organizations should be worried that they are being used as pawns by environmentalists,” continues Coggin. “You can’t receive the majority of your contributions from a handful of elitist urbanites and claim to be a credible voice for backwoods hunters and anglers.”

Go here to read what Green Decoys has to say about TRCP:

Here’s an excerpt:

On the Sideline for the Second Amendment

TRCP claims to support the right to hunt and fish, and so it should be a vocal proponent of gun rights. But when pressed, TRCP couldn’t offer a stance. “[O]thers know far more than we do about the Second Amendment,” TRCP stated. Bizarrely, WyoFile reports that Whit Fosburgh, head of TRCP, “doesn’t view President Obama as a threat to gun rights.” TRCP’s non-stance is even stranger given that a portion of every sale of firearms and ammunition is earmarked for conservation programs.

Wednesday
Aug132014

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Aug132014

Stocking Helps With False River Recovery

Photo from The Advocate

Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation volunteers helped  the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (DWF) with the next stage of recovery for False River this spring, as they used their boats to distribute 6,000 Florida-strain fingerlings.

“This is just one phase of an ongoing rehabilitation project that includes spawning habitat improvements, dredging, island building, and minimal water level fluctuation,” said Alex Perret, state conservation director.

Mike Wood, director of Inland Fisheries, added, “This is what a lot of anglers have been waiting for, and we’re working for them. We’re stocking the lake with Florida-strain bass because they have the genetic potential to be larger-sized fish.”

Recovery began in 2012 with adoption of a plan by resource managers to address the decline of the oxbow fishery. Its ailments included silt buildup, diminished water quality, and overabundance of aquatic vegetation, with the loss of fish spawning and nursery habitat.

One of the first steps was to lift the ban on commercial fishing, in hopes of reducing the population of carp and other rough fish that have thrived in the degraded lake. Last fall, 60 tons of gravel was spread to create six spawning beds, each 30 feet wide and 4 inches deep.

“We did these in shallow parts of the lake so the sun can reach the bottom,” said Wood. “All of this is just a small part of a much bigger project. None of these things individually can fix the river on its own.”

Tommy Bryan, one of the fishermen from Twin Rivers Anglers who helped stock bass, added, “You can’t imagine the economic impact this lake will have on the community if it gets its quality back. There used to be dozens of boat launches all over the river. But when the fishing fell off, the boat launches sort of just went away.”

Next, DWF plans to build island terraces to reduce improve habitat, as they reduce runoff and turbidity.

“The siltation issues haven’t gone away,” Wood explained. “This is really going to have to be a long-term project, a compilation of a lot of different things to get a healthy False River.”

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)