The Blog Aquatic » recreational fishing http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 (Re)using the Same Old Lines http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/08/reusing-the-same-old-lines/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/08/reusing-the-same-old-lines/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 15:30:09 +0000 Sonya Besteiro http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7690

When nylon was created in 1938, few people realized the impact this new material would have on fishing. By the late 1950s, manufacturers were producing a single strand of monofilament plastic that would quickly become the most popular fishing line.

Unfortunately, the very properties that make monofilament line so beneficial for fishermen – durability, strength, clarity – can make it an environmental hazard.

Birds, fish and mammals are routinely tangled in discarded fishing line, which can injure or kill them. Derelict fishing line also puts people at risk, entangling beachgoers and divers and damaging boats or other equipment.

Proper disposal of old or damaged fishing line is vital to prevent these dangers. North Carolina Big Sweep’s (NC Big Sweep) monofilament fishing line recycling program encourages fishermen, boaters and marinas to recycle fishing line before it enters the environment.

“Recycling gives a second life to monofilament line, reduces problems with litter and earns positive publicity,” explains Judy Bolin, president of NC Big Sweep.

The NC Big Sweep monofilament recycling initiative began as a pilot project in 2004 with funding from the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Working with the North Carolina Clean Marina Program – a voluntary program that recognizes environmentally responsible marinas – Bolin serves as a conduit between marinas and monofilament recycling resources.

“The marinas are the ones who commit to recycle the monofilament line,” she says.

To participate, marinas must install special containers for patrons to safely store and discard unwanted fishing line. Marina staff monitor and maintain the containers and record the amount of fishing line being recycled. Bolin provides marina operators with an initial container and contact information for recycling centers.

Southport Marina joined the NC Big Sweep program in 2012. For marina manager Hank Whitley, the decision was easy. “As a certified Clean Marina, we are committed to doing our part to keep our environment clean and litter-free,” he explains.

Southport currently has three recycling containers and has collected a large amount of fishing line. With little to no maintenance and only weekly monitoring required, Whitley is pleased that the stations have been minimally invasive to marina operations.

“There is no logical reason for a marina not to join this program,” he states. “The benefits far outweigh the negatives.”

More than 100 marinas currently participate in the recycling program; Bolin would like to see that number grow. “Ideally, I would love to have all marinas involved,” she says. “For now, I’d like to get funding to add 50 more marinas to the project.”

Monofilament recycling is only one of many good boating practices boaters and marinas can implement. Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate program provides simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for green boating. Visit www.oceanconservancy.org/goodmate for more information.

 

 

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Red Snapper Numbers Go Up In More Ways Than One http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/15/red-snapper-numbers-go-up-in-more-ways-than-one/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/15/red-snapper-numbers-go-up-in-more-ways-than-one/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 17:16:37 +0000 Libby Fetherston http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6292 Fisherman loads red snapper into buckets

Credit: Tom McCann / Ocean Conservancy

UPDATE (July 17, 2013): Success! The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has voted to raise this year’s catch limit for red snapper from 8.46 to 11 million pounds due to the successful rebuilding of this iconic species. This action marks a historic moment in the management of the red snapper fishery, as catch levels are the highest they’ve been in 25 years.

Read more about this decision here.

Original post (July 15, 2013):

It’s summer in the Gulf of Mexico, and another recreational red snapper fishing season has come and gone too quickly. Usually at this time of year, anglers and fishery managers are taking stock of what was caught in the short snapper opening and wondering what the limit will be next year. The answer will come sooner than usual.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is holding an emergency meeting this week to decide how many more red snapper can be caught this year. A science panel recently announced that an increase is possible, and now managers need to settle the questions of how much and by when?

The good news is that the red snapper population is on the rise and soon the catch limit will be too. The law governing our nation’s fisheries, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, has rebuilt a record number of fish populations around the country, and red snapper is one of the most visible success stories.

As recently as 2005, the red snapper population was fished down to 3 percent of its historic abundance, and catch limits were reduced to allow recovery. Just eight years later, fishermen are reporting better fishing and larger fish, and scientists have confirmed red snapper is on the road to recovery.

Because red snapper was reduced so low, we have a long way to go to achieve full restoration of the population. So the trick this week is to set a responsible catch limit increase—Ocean Conservancy is recommending between 11 and 11.9 million pounds—to keep up the progress that has already been made while allowing additional fishing opportunities for commercial and recreational participants.

Keeping the increase to a responsible level benefits everyone. Recreational fishermen will be able to catch more fish and get a more stable fishing season, helping to support tourism and local economies for both the short and long term. Commercial fishing will benefit for years to come as the population continues to rebound and provide stable and secure harvests into the future. And for the general public, especially seafood-lovers, responsible limits demonstrate a long-term commitment to the recovery and sustainability of Gulf fisheries—and the food and recreation they provide us all.

Red snapper is an iconic Gulf species, and economically is among the most valuable fish so its long-term recovery and health should be our first priority. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster still represents a great source of uncertainty for the region’s fisheries, and making the right choices is more important now than ever as we do not yet know the extent to which the disaster affected red snapper and the things they rely on as a food source.

For now, the good news is that snapper is rebounding and the Magnuson-Stevens Act is working. Now it’s up to fishery managers to make a responsible decision on the catch limit to help ensure the good news continues.

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Hooked a Friend on Conservation Yesterday
 http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/15/hooked-a-friend-on-conservation-yesterday%e2%80%a8/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/15/hooked-a-friend-on-conservation-yesterday%e2%80%a8/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:25:18 +0000 TJ Marshall http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3839

Fishing from a Stand Up Paddleboard. Photo by TJ Marshall

As a die-hard surfer I’ve picked up just about every kind of board to surf with and one of my favorites is a Stand Up Paddle board (SUP). Recently, my long time “surf brah” Kevin swung over from Orlando wanting to enjoy some small wave fun here in Cocoa Beach but the tide came up and, well, the surf didn’t look to good.

No problem! I grabbed the fishing poles, threw the boards on the truck and we headed over to the Banana River. Kev had been going on flat water crusies every since I gave him a “bro rate” on my old SUP when I stepped up to a new one. Yet he’d never wet a line from one — it was time to change that.

We headed over to my local park that had two boat ramps and a dedicated kayak/SUP ramp, specifically made with a fabric liner so not to damage the numerous yaks and SUPs dropping in the water these days like a concrete boat ramp will do. There were 6 other people launching so we waited our turn to head out into the 1000 Island chain – a great spot for catching redfish, snook, speckled trout and when you’re lucky a fun, fighting tarpon.

Like most folks, Kev was completely unaware that it was likely tax dollars from fishing licenses, gear and boat fuel sales that paid for the park boat ramps and the state biologists to study the fisheries we were fishing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers an industry supported Sportfish Restoration Program where a surcharge is added to items related to fishing and the money goes back to the states to ensure we have both abundant fish and wildlife as well as access to sustainably enjoy them.

And enjoy them we did. We paddled over 5.5 miles twisting and winding through islands often fishing the mangrove banks with the wind at our backs. We saw ospreys, manatees, redfish and mullet galore. We had a grand time messing with some poor man’s tarpon – a school of ladyfish busting all over some bait fish.

Kev kept telling me, “My wife is going to be missing me now that I’ve learned to fish from this SUP.” Which isn’t a bad thing – each time he buys a little piece of gear, some bait to take with him, or renews his fishing license, a piece of that purchase will circle back toward the management and use of a priceless resource.

If you’re interested in getting out and trying some fishing, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s www.takemefishing.org has everything you need to know on where and how to go fishing near you. Fresh water, salt water, back bay, heck even ice fishing! Don’t forget that fishing license, think of it as the best conservation tool in your tackle box.

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