Obey­ing the rules of sport fish­ing will en­sure its fu­ture

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

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.

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