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Another worthless John Geiser Commentary

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Leave it to this dinosaur to put a negative spin on an attempt to promote catch and release fishing... rolleyes.gif


"If I can't eat what I catch, I'll take up bowling or some other sport," he said.


By this reasoning, I guess no one should fish for enjoyment of the sport, but only for the meat?? Spare us! mad.gif



Anglers should learn proper catch and release technique


Published in the Asbury Park Press 7/18/04

Anglers stand teetering on the edge of a slippery slope identified by a sign that reads "Catch and Release."

Somehow the practice of catching and releasing fish has become equated with helping to build the biomass of the target species. This is a delusion.


Hooking and playing a fish to exhaustion, and then attempting to revive it and release it is better than killing it and dumping it, but it is not adding to the numbers of that species in the sea.


Since there is a percentage of mortality associated with catching and releasing any fish, anglers must be aware that the more fish they catch and release, the greater number of fish will die.


Fishery management officials build this mortality factor into their plans. The higher the minimum sizes, the more mortality suffered by striped bass, fluke, weakfish and other popular fishes.


This was for a number of years a real problem in the fluke fishery when it was assumed by some management officials that mortality was 25 percent. In other words, catch and release an undersized fluke four times, and it was theoretically dead.


That has since been reduced to 10 percent, but it is still figured in whenever a quota is set.


Fortunately, anglers can save more fish, proportionately, than commercial fishermen who shovel unwanted or undersized species over the side dead. No one who fished the Mud Hole when the giant tuna visited there every year will ever forget the vast tides of unwanted dead ling that covered the surface of the ocean after the draggers went through.


The New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium and its New Jersey Sea Grant Marine Extension Program have produced a new information packet for recreational anglers.


They say it is designed to reinforce the concept of ethical angling and encourage anglers to use catch-and-release techniques.


The packet is called "Catch and Release - A Guide to Ethical Angling." It includes a trifold brochure that explains the philosophy of catch-and-release fishing and provides simple, step-by-step instructions for the procedure.


The packet is not intended to discourage catching fish and taking them home to eat or persuade that this use of the resource is unethical angling.


It is designed to reduce mortality in catching and releasing fish, whether the release is forced by regulation or used to hopefully enable the fish to live.


The packet includes not only tips on releasing fish, but also includes two circle hooks, which in certain circumstances reduce hooking mortality.


Michael Danko, a state Sea Grant extension agent, said the consortium wanted to release the package in time for the peak recreational fishing season.


"This is a perfect time of year and a great product to help educate the public about catch-and-release fishing and encourage anglers to use circle hooks," he said. "Circle hooks combined with catch-and-release techniques could prove to be an important conservation tool in the future."


For a free copy of the packet, send a self-addressed, legal-sized envelope with 60 cents postage to NJMSC, Catch and Release Packet, Building 22, Fort Hancock, N.J. 07732.


Danko said anglers should specify whether they would like a fluke, striped bass or bottom fish packet.


The slippery slope that pure catch-and-release anglers face is that, if anglers are not going to eat what they catch, then killing fish, regardless of how small the percentage of mortality, is indefensible.


Native Americans, the first subsistence fishermen, would not think of catching and releasing fish that they did not need for food, fertilizer or trade.


Jim Stigliano, Wall, who has served in an advisory capacity to the state on winter flounders, said eating the fish that he catches completes the experience for him.


"If I can't eat what I catch, I'll take up bowling or some other sport," he said.


Capt. Fred Kern of the Miss Belmar Princess said the fluke anglers, including the tourists, who sail on that boat enjoy the sea, the salt air, and the action, but, in the end, they want to take home a fish for dinner.

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