Barotrauma" Get-Together Paves Way for Better Fishing

Earlier this spring, The Sportfishing Conservancy participated in a NOAA funded "barotrauma" workshop conducted by "Fish Smart" and held in suburban Atlanta.  The focus of the workshop was to evaluate survivability of recreational caught fish.  While catch and release fishing represents a substantial portion of all sportfishing, increasing the survival of those fish that are released plays a key role in the sustainability of not only the fish, but in the short term how our recreational fisheries are managed and in the long run, perhaps the overall survivability of our sport.  Poor release techniques play havoc not only with the fish, but may keep seasons closed and areas off limits.  The workshop demonstrated that some poor release techniques are avoidable, then examined some impressive solutions from around the country.

"The early results are encouraging:  clearly defining, then scientifically documenting our recreational fishing techniques can provide a path for anglers to not only increase survivability of released fish, but also help keep us on the water," said The Sportfishing Conservancy president, Tom Raftican.  "On the whole, sport anglers do a good job of treating resources wisely.  We need to take credit for the job that we do well and at the same time research and improve performance where we can.   It's in our best interest to achieve the highest survival rates and improved recreational technique - the 'Rec Tech' is key to this success," he added.

Recognizing and improving the way that we fish has been part of The Sportfishing Conservancy's ongoing 'Rec Tech' program that includes

"Toss back Tuesday" catch and release trips, "Toss back Tools" and "Toss back Techniques."   "As anglers we spend a lot of time on the water and generally know the best way to handle and release fish," said The Sportfishing Conservancy's conservation officer, Jenny Armstrong.  "By sharing information and getting all of us on the same page, we can improve not only the fish's chance of surviving, but our chances and our kids chances of catching bigger fish as well."




Department of Fish & wildlife