Americans go fishing: but is it good for the environment?
As Americans forgo expensive vacations, costly dinners and shopping mall splurges, many are opting instead for the quiet simplicity of fishing, according to the sport fishing industry and reports from bait shops and fishermen.
My colleague Jason Szep has done a report on this which you can read here.
As a life-long angler and fly fishing addict, I have long held that my passion is a green one. Anglers and hunters spend money on license fees that is ploughed into conservation programs. Guide services provide income and employment which gives local communities, tax payers and voters a vested interest in conservation.
There are also organizations like Trout Unlimited that are dedicated to freshwater conservation and get much of their support from anglers.
But I also know that my hobby has added considerably to my personal “carbon footprint.” As Jason notes in his report, falling gas prices have lured more anglers out on the road. If you fish or hunt, you probably drive — a lot.
Then there are concerns about over harvesting fresh water fish populations, though bag and size limits are aimed at making the sport sustainable. Most fly anglers like myself release wild fish. And commercial fishing in the world’s depleted oceans is clearly a far bigger environmental threat than recreational fishing, be it inland or at sea.
What do you think? Is recreational fishing “green” and sustainable? Or do other factors such as fuel consumption cloud the picture?
(Dan Seguin holds one that didn’t get away. REUTERS/Brian Snyder, March 7, 2009)