Fishing-Addict

What is the future of fish species and fisherman?

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Hey guys wanted to ask the question of does fishing have a future? This question is for a college class I wanted to get some views on this topic. The question is a 3 part question. The first part is will 10+ years from now will there be fish to catch and will they be in high enough numbers so have it will be worthwhile to go catch them. The second part is while there be enough fisherman in the future to justify companies to keep producing gear for the fisherman. Also will more kids ever show more interest in fishing or will they be stuck in the video games and social media. Final part is will the governments of the world ever take further measures to protect fish species for overfishing? Will the government ever kill recreational fishing just to from the commercial fishery?

 

My views in a short passage are I am not entirely sure. Lots of precautions are taken to reduce polluntants and litter in our waters but I think companies are stalling recycling process to make more money (conspiracy theories can't help it). Like we have solar cell technologies that is very good but countries insist on not using it so they keep using fossil fuels. We have methods of recycling damn plastic but companies again want to keep it cheap. I hope fish species live so we can enjoy them. Secondly I have no idea if kids today will ever appreciate fishing. Yeah I am only 21 but its really hard to wait for a fish when technology has made everything so quick. You can order a pizza and 10 minutes later it is at your door. You can stream a show right on your tv quickly. Instant gratification is what people want and fishing is not that. Lastly I think commercial fisheries should take a break because a lot of there catch is wasted either as bycatch or not selling and being thrown away. I will link a study of the exact numbers. Companies need to catch less fish for stocks to replenish. Lastly recreational fishing when done responsible with actual limits (not that 15 bluefish nonsense), adhering to rules, and responsible catch and release has very little if no effect on fish stocks. Those of us who chuck some lures in the surf are not to blame for declining fish stocks. 

 

 

Long post but want to see your views guys. Hopefully I can convince my class that fish are a worthwhile animals to save and not everything is about cats and dogs. 

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I've been here before, yes the industry is good and we'll overcome over fishing. We will always have kids that love fishing. We need advocates like you .. We need passion. We also need to look at external issues that no one has addressed substantially. First runoff nitrates which may be a bigger threat than we ever imagined, and two forage fish are important...

 

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First, the true lure is NOT catching fish, but becoming one with the outdoors.  I firmly believe this and feel this to be a key point you'll need to stress.  Use the Thoreau quote in my signature from "On Walden Pond".  Even in the wildest blitz, I'll put down my rod to just look under the boat watching bass feeding on bait, grab a quick video of breaking fish, or just taking a moment to regal in the splendor of an eagle soaring overhead.  This is the beauty and magic of fishing and is something that new technology cannot augment nor detract from, it's a matter of experiencing it first hand.  Seeing it.  Hearing it.  Smelling it.

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The future can go in a lot of different directions, and it's hard to say which possible outcome will actually prevail.  I spend a lot of my time working for better fisheries management and for a future for both the fish and for fishermen.  Whether that future will come about, I don't know.  I see a number of possible scenarios.  These three kind of the "Goldilocks" trio, examples of too soft, too harsh and just right, are just a few of what we can see.

 

SCENARIO ONESHORT TERM ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS AND POPULATION PRESSURES WIN.  This is the worst-case, everyone loses option that's being pressed by some in the fishing industry, some magazine editors, and non-fishing related industries.  It is essentially an extension of the current thinking in Washington, where rollbacks of water pollution regulations, air pollution regulations, land use rules, etc. occur in the name of "getting government off business' backs."  Conservative judges interpret restrictions on land use legislative "takings" and require local, state and federal government to pay compensation for imposing such restrictions; the Supreme Court adopt business-friendly cost-benefit analyses to federal environmental regulations.  As a result, farmers are freely allowed to let fertilizers, manure, etc. flow into rivers and into coastal estuaries.  Coal miners engage in "mnountaintop removal," poisoning other streams.  Pollutants flow down into coastal estuaries, causing hypoxic "dead zones" in places like Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico to steadily expand.  Toxic algae blooms, made worse by rising water temperatures, cause fish kills from southern New England down to Florida and Texas.  At the same time, a business-friendly Congress gives in to "flexibility" advocates, and weakens Magnuson-Stevens to make federal management more like that at the ASMFC; there is no more need to immediately end overfishiung, and no hard deadlines for rebuilding overfished stocks.  Economics can Trump science when making fishery management decisions.  As a result, fishermen--both commercial and the for-hire fleet--enjoy a few years of boom times as they are allowed to catch more and smaller fish than they were allowed to land before.  Anadramous species such as striped bass, shad and river herring collapose first; along with New England groundfish.  Structure specific species such as black sea bass, tautog and the various grouper and snapper species go next, as the boats hammer wrecks and reefs.  After that, all effort switches to what remains, and drives those stocks down, too.  Highly migratories are hammered by the longline fleet as US influence wanes at ICCAT.  In not too many years, there are too few fish to keep recreational fishermen interested; the for-hire industry tanks as boats regularly come up empty; commercial fleets crash as catches are no longer large enough to pay the expenses of the trips.  The fishing industry focuses on fresh water, where some states maintain healthy fisheries despite the feds.  Salt water fish stocks collapse, some are unable to rebuild.  Some runs of Pacific salmon and steelhead, along with Atlantic sturgeon and some other sturgeon runs, become extinct.

 

SCENARIO TWO:  THE BUNNY-HUGGERS WIN.

This is another worst-case scenario, although one where the fish, at least, come out OK.  Populations continue to become more urbanized, and more divorced from the natural world.  The number of anglers and hunters steadily decreases as fewer young people enter such sports; advisory bodies, including federal fishery management councils and the ASMFC, are dominated by urban environmentalists who have no angling experience, and view people as existing outside the "natural" world.  As a result, expansive no-take marine reserves become one of the primary management tools.  Fish stocks are generally healthy, but neither anglers nor commercial fishermen are able to easily access them; the most productive areas are placed off limits, and may only be entered by researchers and recreational divers.  Catch and release is outlawed as "animal cruelty" (this is already happening in Europe) and only limited catch and kill fishing is allowed.  Even this is difficult, as concerns with climate change has resulted in severe limits on petroleum use; fuel for internal combustion engines is heavily taxed, and quantities for both marine and highway use is rationed to limit combustion.  Fish stocks are healthy, but the fishing industry dies.  Salt water angling continues, but only among a relatively few individuals.

 

SCENARIO THREE:  PEOPLE SORT-OF GET THINGS RIGHT.

This is where I hope we're headed.  Fishermen recognize that they are a critical part of good fisheries management, and get more involved in the process, both at the regulatory and political level.  They work with mainstream conservation groups to convince Congress and local legislators to keep Magnuson-Stevens strong, improve the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and also to push back against farming, mining and other interests that would relax pollution rules in order to promote their economic goals.  They work locally for good management measures.  The regulatory focus is placed on the long-term health of fish stocks, and not on the year-to-year impacts of regulations on the industry,  Anglers convince managers that there is a value to keeping an abundance of fish in the water, that for some species can equal or exceed the value of dead fish on the dock (this is a key issue in the current bluefish debate).  Rivers are cleaned up and dams are removed to protect essential nursery habitat for striped bass, salmon, shad and other anadromous species.   The fishing industry, both recreational and commercial, is rightsized to match the size of the resource; arguments that regulations must be relaxed to keep people in business, at the long-term expense of the stock, are not heeded.  Fish stocks generally remain healthy; sometimes oceanographic conditions, or a management mistake, will lead to overfishing and perhaps overfished stocks, but the legal and administrative structure is robust enough to address and remedy such problems as soon as they are identified.  The fishing industry adapts as conditions change and does well; anglers have relatively easy access to abundant fish stocks.

 

There are, obviously, many other permutations.

 

Right now, I think we see Options One and Three in a close race, with Three slightly in the lead, but One threatening to pass.  Option Two is far behind, but can't be counted out as urban centers gain greater political power.

Edited by CWitek

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12 hours ago, Roccus7 said:

First, the true lure is NOT catching fish, but becoming one with the outdoors.  I firmly believe this and feel this to be a key point you'll need to stress.  Use the Thoreau quote in my signature from "On Walden Pond".  Even in the wildest blitz, I'll put down my rod to just look under the boat watching bass feeding on bait, grab a quick video of breaking fish, or just taking a moment to regal in the splendor of an eagle soaring overhead.  This is the beauty and magic of fishing and is something that new technology cannot augment nor detract from, it's a matter of experiencing it first hand.  Seeing it.  Hearing it.  Smelling it.

Pretty much says it all

 

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Ive had three careers in my life, the first was steel construction, but I suffered a back injury and had to get retrained, so I decided to go into biology, and I was trained to the Ms. level.  Although most of what I did involved microbes and cancer, I had several courses in undergrad and graduate work that dealt with animal populations in competition, more like courses in economics.  So, I think you have to look at evolution from an economics perspective.  What happens when you have a void in the market, the answer is a firm, or in this case a species will fill it.

Already where some populations are in decline the roles are being filled by other species, such as the sea robin.  Where I do my saltwater fishing one population dominates, and that is loosely referred to as the Drum Family. That family includes Red Drum, whiting, croaker, and spotted sea trout. If you look at these fish you can see that the whiting and red drum are clearly related, but the spotted trout with its buck teeth and thin body looks anything like a red drum that has a carp-like appearance.  Drum and whiting feed off the bottom mostly, especially whiting that have an extendable mouth that goes downward like a vacuum cleaner.  Red drum eat blue crabs and fish.  Speckled trout have two buck teeth that they use to impale fleeing prey, mostly other fish (especially in my experience whiting), and when they are around you see fish erupting on the surface the same way you see them do it when bluefish are around. 

My point is that you have one family of fish speciating and  taking on several roles as predators with each member of the species looking different and in some cases extremely different, depending on how they evolved to feed. 

My guess is that as water temperatures change, toxicity increases in the environment, there will be a switch to hardy fish such as the sea robin or sail cats filling more environmental roles, and maybe even evolving to be much bigger or completely different looking species. What surprises me as that some species only take decades to diversify and fill niches, while other changes may take hundreds or thousands of years, for instance for a branch to occur between drum and speckled sea trout. For all we know in a couple decades, or a hundred years, some sea robins may grow gigantic and some speciate to look more striped bass.

As far as fresh water, look how the Europeans adapted to the fish they have available. Where I live people would look at you funny if you said you were carp fishing, in Europe tackle is sold geared to the carp fishermen. The same can be said of catfish, although the closer you get to the rivers, the more respectable it becomes. I think anglers in freshwater in America, like people in Europe may someday find themselves purchasing Shimano Big Pit Carp reels and carp rods, since the one thing we know about carp is that no matter the water temperature, turbidity, or contamination, you will have carp and you will have catfish. 

 

The other problem is politics.  Over fishing especially by the Omega Corporation and some other business called Eat Seafood or something like that, sends out lobbyists to convince politicians (give them money) and have laws passed that directly subsidize overfishing.  The end result is that people do not actually pay for the cost of a fish they have for dinner, the person pays far less because the tax payers have paid for a part of that consumers fish.  People hundreds of miles from the coast who never eat fish in places like Virginia are taxed for the cost of fishing.  If you removed the subsidies paid by tax payers, the cost of fish would go up, and people in the US would eat less fish. Thus, removing subsidies is a form of conservation.  

 

Dealing with Chinese overfishing is another issue. But, even they realized after just about every fish in the Yangtze went extinct, that its time for a change, and a 10 year ban on commercial fishing has gone in place. We cannot rely on the sea or other waterways to feed entire populations, seafood should be treated as a luxury item, and priced as such.  

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All good points I hope we are going in a direction of conservation and government involvement and fishing fleets back off and reduce fishing pressure. If you guys have never read about it look into fishing bycatch. The numbers are astonishing and truly sad. Commercial fishing is so wasteful. Look at the shrimp boats for every pound of shrimp they kill 6 pounds of fish, dolphins, sharks etc. Makes me sad thinking us fisherman go through so much effort protecting the fish we catch but commercial fishing literally pillage the ocean. If I can I will link some research articles for you guys.

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1 hour ago, Fishing-Addict said:

All good points I hope we are going in a direction of conservation and government involvement and fishing fleets back off and reduce fishing pressure. If you guys have never read about it look into fishing bycatch. The numbers are astonishing and truly sad. Commercial fishing is so wasteful. Look at the shrimp boats for every pound of shrimp they kill 6 pounds of fish, dolphins, sharks etc. Makes me sad thinking us fisherman go through so much effort protecting the fish we catch but commercial fishing literally pillage the ocean. If I can I will link some research articles for you guys.

Because it’s free. You have to cultivate land, pay taxes on it, etc. With the ocean, the fisherman does not add back, certainly Omega probably spends money on politicians to avoid paying taxes, and like other corporations it’s only loyalty is to current share holder value, that is corporate ethics in a nut-shell - avoid taxes and increase share value. 
 

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43 mins ago, fishhappy said:

Because it’s free. You have to cultivate land, pay taxes on it, etc. With the ocean, the fisherman does not add back, certainly Omega probably spends money on politicians to avoid paying taxes, and like other corporations it’s only loyalty is to current share holder value, that is corporate ethics in a nut-shell - avoid taxes and increase share value. 
 

Classic "Tragedy of the Commons", when no one owns it there's no one who can say STOP to the exploitation. And if they do, you get "Libertarians" who say all regulation is anti-freedom. We don't let people hunt down the herds of deer for the market,  get all hysterical and protect them when they're in trouble, then when they recover deregulate and do it again. Why do we do this in the ocean? Just because it's big? We need to move beyond being "hunter gatherers" of seafood on the commercial scale like we moved beyond doing it on land. Responsible aquaculture can be done, but it's hard to compete with the wasteful gathering of "free" fish.

 

An aside: why are draggers and netters allowed to just dump dead bycatch instead of being required to at least bring it back for reduction and save some menhaden?

Edited by gellfex

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Fishing will be fishing. People will buy gear whether fishing is good or not.  Year to year can be boom or bust. Scup, sea bass, toy has been booming out the wazoo the last few years. Striped bass has been booming. Last year was definitely on the ugly side but look at it this way. When the fish wasn’t there, did people go find the fish? Probably not. Probably stuck to the same spots hoping for something magical. Something to factor in cuz people are too lazy to work hard. There will always be more fisherman after we croak whether it’s from an accident or old age. Government will be the government. Anyone expecting resources to be put into the environmental department is delusional. 

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Cant dismiss the negative ions at the surf. And the salt air.

But I'm also there to catch and release . And of course the eye candy.

Luv the bikini clad young lady's asking questions for 20 min. So I miss a fish or 2. 

Totally acceptable. 

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28 mins ago, the3fishheads said:

Cant dismiss the negative ions at the surf. And the salt air.

But I'm also there to catch and release . And of course the eye candy.

Luv the bikini clad young lady's asking questions for 20 min. So I miss a fish or 2. 

Totally acceptable. 

Props for the negative ions BUT...

 

If the bikini patrol is out when you fish for bass, I must humbly submit that you ain't no serious bass fisherman...

Edited by Roccus7

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11 mins ago, Roccus7 said:

Props for the negative ions BUT...

 

If the bikini patrol is out when you fish for bass, I must humbly submit that you ain't no serious bass fisherman...

About a serious as they come. Just something about a beautiful woman in a g string asking questions. Cant help myself. Never lose focus but its hampered a bit.

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47 mins ago, Roccus7 said:

Props for the negative ions BUT...

 

If the bikini patrol is out when you fish for bass, I must humbly submit that you ain't no serious bass fisherman...


Maybe your local bikini patrol is just not hardcore enough :p

Edited by C.Robin

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