Obeying the rules of sport fishing will ensure its future
Every day when I pick up the paper I read about new threats to the environment and sport fishing is no exception. Whether the threats come from over fishing, acid rain or global warming, they all affect sport fishing.
With all the pressures on sport fish stocks, anglers are realizing the need to protect the resource. This includes fishing in an ethical manner. Ethical anglers respect fish, and recognize the environment they are found in as a valuable resource. They also recognize and value Cape Breton’s long history of sport fishing. While they also know, and obey, angling regulations which are in place to protect the angling resource, they also realize the need for a personal code of ethics or unwritten laws which covers their behaviour on the water.
Webster’s dictionary defines ethics as, “The system or code of morals of a particular person, religion, group or profession.”
American outdoor writer Lee Wulff once defined the difference between games and sports by the fact that in games we require referees or judges to ensure compliance to the rules, while in sports, such as fishing, we serve as our own referee and must conduct ourselves accordingly.
Most Cape Breton anglers respect sport fishing regulations on bag limits and gear restrictions, as well as the protection of private property and conduct themselves accordingly. Enforcement programs carried out on Cape Breton lakes and rivers by provincial and federal enforcement staff reveal very high compliance to regulations. However, there will always be a few who flaunt the law, take more than their share of fish and litter our waterways with their garbage.
Anglers should respect fish as a valuable natural resource and appreciate the environment, and aquatic habitat, by keeping it clean and leaving it in a better condition than when they found it. They understand the need for a personal code of ethics or unwritten law while also knowing, and obeying, angling regulations which serve to protect the resource.
They also learn the proper technique to allow released fish to survive and ensure quality angling by limiting their catch rather than catching their limit. Anglers should treat all fish in an acceptable manner whether they are retained, released or used as bait. This means that if you are planning on releasing all your catch use appropriate gear and play the fish quickly. If you are practicing selective harvest, and decide to retain a fish, kill it quickly and store it a manner that will ensure it maintains its quality as food.
Through wise use of our sport fishing resources, and the habitat they are found in, we will help ensure that future anglers will be able to discover the joys of sportfishing on Cape Breton. Tight Lines. Tip of the week: Most anglers I know respect both fish, and the environment they are found in. They make it a practice of never leaving any garbage and even pick up the mess other people have left behind by including a garbage bag in their tackle box and packing up any litter they find.