Recreational fishing is a truly unique sport. It puts fishermen in the middle of the natural world, and allows them to explore local marine ecosystems firsthand.
So many marine biologists and conservationists, including myself, were actually first introduced to the wonder and beauty of the ocean through fishing.
This might seem somewhat contradictory – because doesn’t fishing kill the fish that you’re working to help protect? Recreational fishing can definitely be harmful to the fish you catch, even if you do release them back into the sea. But if handled correctly, catch-and-release can avoid major damage to the fish caught and ensure that future generations of fishers will be able to enjoy the sport.
Recreational fishing provides a great opportunity to learn about the natural cycles of life and death in the ocean, and the benefits of locally-caught food. It connects people to the health of the sea, and helps them understand their impact on the world’s vast oceans. But fishermen need to understand their place in the marine environment and work to minimize their footprint on this delicate underwater world.
“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau
Recreational fishing guide via: NOAA Fisheries