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Recreational Fishing Threatened in Australia

Recreational fishing in Australia is perhaps even more imperiled than it is in the United States.  Down under, officials are considering a Marine Reserves Network, which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) says “would close millions of miles of water to fishing and boating.”

In response, Australia’s anglers and fishing industry have formed Keep Australia Fishing, similar to our own Keep America Fishing. A “Don’t Lock Us Out” campaign generated nearly 10,000 submissions to stop the reserves network.

But Keep Australia Fishing warns, “The fight is not yet over. There is still a long way to go on fighting the government’s decision.”

Anglers in the United States would do well to check out the Keep Australia Fishing website to learn what will be coming our way if President Obama wins re-election and continues implementation of the National Ocean Policy (NOP).

The NOP will “zone” uses of our waters, telling us where we can and cannot fish. And you can bet that preservationists, both within the administration and in environmental groups, will have a seat at the “big table” as those zoning decisions are made.


B.A.S.S. Powerful Force for Conservation


New York's Paul Hudson empties line recycling bin at launch site.

If people know about B.A.S.S. at all, what they usually know is that it’s a tournament fishing organization. If they are anglers, they might also be aware that its founder, Ray Scott, popularized catch-and-release, a conservation practice now utilized worldwide among sports fishermen.

But B.A.S.S. is much more than that. Through its National Conservation Director (Noreen Clough) and through its state B.A.S.S. Federation Nation members, it is a powerful force for stewardship and protection of angler rights.

The director works mostly behind the scenes, partnering with groups such as the American Sport Fishing Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation to present a united front for anglers. She also provides guidance for state and club conservation directors, all of whom are volunteers.

State chapters and clubs, meanwhile are the conservation backbone of B.A.S.S. and do much great work to protect and enhance fisheries. For the most part, it’s work that goes unrecognized.

Here’s what 1,954 B.A.S.S. volunteers did through 12,886 hours of effort during 2011:

  • 10 tons of trash removed
  • 1,662 artificial habitats placed
  • 15 miles of roadways cleaned
  • $505,700 raised for charities and conservation
  • 7,366 acres improved by habitat placement
  • 5,000 pounds of invasive grass carp removed
  • 4 tons of invasive plants removed
  • 350 water willows planted
  • 600 bass tagged

As a Life member and Senior Writer/Conservation for B.A.S.S., I’m extremely proud of my organization. 


Carp Kisser!

Are those the lips that you’d like to smooch? What if their owner wanted to kiss you?

That’s the situation that a yellow lab found itself in at Lake Mead.

Check it out.


Florida Encourages Harvest of Exotic Lionfish to Protect Fisheries

Florida officials have initiated an aggressive new strategy in hopes of preventing exotic lionfish from decimating fisheries.

A fishing license is not required to harvest the invaders by spear and hand-held nets. The license requirement still is in place for those who fish with hook and line, but lionfish rarely are taken by that method.

"They (divers) are our best possible chance to control them," said John Hunt, director of the Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute lab in the Florida Keys.

Hunt also acknowledged that the predatory fish from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean never will be eradicated from Florida waters.

Lionfish were first identified on Florida’s east coast in 1985, likely as a result of being released by aquarium hobbyists. Since 2009, however, sightings have become common all along the coast and up into the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Resource managers fear that they will outcompete native fish for food and eliminate organisms that keep reefs healthy.

"We don't have all the evidence yet, but we're concerned," Hunt said.

Read the full story here.


Teachers May Be Spreading Invasive Species

Photo by Ashley Baldridge

Science teachers may be contributing to the spread of invasive species, according to a new study.

Crayfish, mosquito fish, red-eared slider turtles, and elodea are but a few of the species used in the classroom of 2,000 teachers across the country. And researchers found that 25 percent of teachers said that they release their organisms into the wild after being used in their classroom.

“Many of the teachers were mortified when we pointed out they may be exacerbating the invasive species problem," said lead researcher Sam Chan, an Oregon State University invasive species expert, "We don't want to discourage the use of live organisms in teaching because they can provide focus, enhance student interest and foster responsibility and care.

But there are consequences to using them, and both teachers and suppliers should consider what will become of these organisms when the classroom lessons are over.”

Read the full story here.