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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not for the first time, I recently aired my views on catch and release on this forum. And it got me thinking about our moral duty to the undeveloped countries we visit on fishing trips.

Over the last 40 years, pleasure fishing has generally moved from a slash and burn mentality to a more-informed conservation-based attitude. Those of us who have been around long enough have seen massive declines in fish stocks around our coasts – populations that, once destroyed, never seem to regenerate. I have a book where a scot talks about a bay he knew where 12lb plaice were commonplace around the turn of the 20th C – until the ‘big boats’ came in, raped the place, and those biggies have never been seen since. Many Scots will tell you of their youth when any cast off the shore would yield a ‘cuddy’. These days most of the inshore Scottish waters can be fished all day with no result. The cod fishery of the Clyde went the same way – once those big breeding fish were destroyed, the population never recovered. And it’s happening the world over.

I have had the privilege of fishing in Africa for 25 years, and have seen so many previously- bountiful fisheries fished dry. These days we have to seek ever-more remote places to try and find relatively unspoilt fishing. Often it is a case of waiting for a country to come out of civil war, develop a minor infrastructure, and get in and fish there quick. Soon the improved infrastructure will allow freight of fish out, and the usual fate of fisheries awaits. No doubt the north Kenyan coast will fish well as soon as the pirate threat ceases.

I visited Ascension this year where the fishing has been preserved due to the impossibility of freighting fish out due to the remoteness of the place. However, I gather tuna licences have recently been issued to foreign fleets, though my info is sketchy.

So when we visit these far flung places such as Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and the like, we target areas with low fishing pressure, and a residue of biggies. Do we then have a right to damage the fish population we have travelled so far to target?

The impact of our fishing depends hugely upon our quarry. Pelagics such as tuna are part of a global population, and moderate cropping becomes part of an ocean-wide food resource. However, reef and wreck fish suffer serious and long-lasting impact from over-fishing. Discovering new wrecks may be a great way to find big fish to plaster over one’s marketing brochures - but if every caught is killed, the glory will be short-lived. That boat of heaving carcases may never be achieved again at the site.

When I fished Guinea Bissau the second time, the scarcity of any snapper near the camps was quite startling, with distant forays required to hit them with any regularity (talking of which, it looks like G B may sadly be heading back to a culture of violence as discussed above) < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20022211 >

I too often hear the pleas “there are thousands of them” and “all fish go to the local population, nothing is wasted”. But of course the big mature fish are wasted, as they are removed from the breeding pool. Sooner or later it ends up as it is with cod – nothing lives long enough to get big, so the only fish that breed are the early maturers. Over a period of time, overfishing selects specifically for fish that mature and breed at lighter weights – hence the reason those biggies never return – they had evolved to their previous massive sizes over centuries.

With our sea fish the UK, it (quite rightly) has become politically incorrect to kill huge hauls of fish, and to post photos of their decimation in the angling press. And yet, in certain quarters, these ‘glory’ photos are still ‘de rigeur’ for foreign travel. Is it OK then to crap in someone else’s backyard?

I would like to see both the mass slaughter, (and photography there-of), of non-pelagics to be as unacceptable as pictures of 50 dead bass/conger have become in the UK, with equal derision heaped on those who persist in the practice. With our modern technology, powerful boats, GPS, 3D sounders and the like, it is quite easy to destroy, in weeks or days, a localised site that would have been sustainable long-term with traditional fishing methods

Surely we should be the enlightened ambassadors of catch and release, setting a good example to third world countries, helping them to preserve their fish stocks.

I do understand that the fish catch is often used to help defray the cost of boat hire, but is this acceptable? Should we not be demanding that none-pelagics are returned – and pay more for the charter for the privilege? – or alternatively negociate cheaper hire on the basis one pays for the catch to be returned?

So much of this is predetermined by the time we arrive at our destination, depending upon whether we are travelling independently or through an agent.

If independent, we can determine the C & R policy before booking, choosing operators who adopt a sensible attitude. If using an agent, they should be able to advise on their company policy, or the policy applying at the destination. Again that gives us, as consumers, the power to pressurise trigger-happy operators to act in the interest of the local community, even if has a negative impact on either the operators profit/glory, or the short-term profit of the boat owners.

With the universal availability of cameras at every turn, gro-pro's, phonecams, videocams etc, isnt it time we glories in our liver returns, filmed/snapped and remembered, rather than the the dried skin and faded colours of sun-dried carcases.

And we have all done things in the past we would never do now, so this is no 'holier than though' sermon. I do rememebr so clearly my first big (to me at least) black marlin at 330lb coming on deck in a non-release tournie, and watch it flush with the most vivid blue as it was hit on the head - and then fade to a dull gey. Never again!

What does everyone else think.
 

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Not for the first time, I recently aired my views on catch and release on this forum. And it got me thinking about our moral duty to the undeveloped countries we visit on fishing trips.

Over the last 40 years, pleasure fishing has generally moved from a slash and burn mentality to a more-informed conservation-based attitude. Those of us who have been around long enough have seen massive declines in fish stocks around our coasts – populations that, once destroyed, never seem to regenerate. I have a book where a scot talks about a bay he knew where 12lb plaice were commonplace around the turn of the 20th C – until the ‘big boats’ came in, raped the place, and those biggies have never been seen since. Many Scots will tell you of their youth when any cast off the shore would yield a ‘cuddy’. These days most of the inshore Scottish waters can be fished all day with no result. The cod fishery of the Clyde went the same way – once those big breeding fish were destroyed, the population never recovered. And it’s happening the world over.

I have had the privilege of fishing in Africa for 25 years, and have seen so many previously- bountiful fisheries fished dry. These days we have to seek ever-more remote places to try and find relatively unspoilt fishing. Often it is a case of waiting for a country to come out of civil war, develop a minor infrastructure, and get in and fish there quick. Soon the improved infrastructure will allow freight of fish out, and the usual fate of fisheries awaits. No doubt the north Kenyan coast will fish well as soon as the pirate threat ceases.

I visited Ascension this year where the fishing has been preserved due to the impossibility of freighting fish out due to the remoteness of the place. However, I gather tuna licences have recently been issued to foreign fleets, though my info is sketchy.

So when we visit these far flung places such as Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and the like, we target areas with low fishing pressure, and a residue of biggies. Do we then have a right to damage the fish population we have travelled so far to target?

The impact of our fishing depends hugely upon our quarry. Pelagics such as tuna are part of a global population, and moderate cropping becomes part of an ocean-wide food resource. However, reef and wreck fish suffer serious and long-lasting impact from over-fishing. Discovering new wrecks may be a great way to find big fish to plaster over one’s marketing brochures - but if every caught is killed, the glory will be short-lived. That boat of heaving carcases may never be achieved again at the site.

When I fished Guinea Bissau the second time, the scarcity of any snapper near the camps was quite startling, with distant forays required to hit them with any regularity (talking of which, it looks like G B may sadly be heading back to a culture of violence as discussed above) < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20022211 >

I too often hear the pleas “there are thousands of them” and “all fish go to the local population, nothing is wasted”. But of course the big mature fish are wasted, as they are removed from the breeding pool. Sooner or later it ends up as it is with cod – nothing lives long enough to get big, so the only fish that breed are the early maturers. Over a period of time, overfishing selects specifically for fish that mature and breed at lighter weights – hence the reason those biggies never return – they had evolved to their previous massive sizes over centuries.

With our sea fish the UK, it (quite rightly) has become politically incorrect to kill huge hauls of fish, and to post photos of their decimation in the angling press. And yet, in certain quarters, these ‘glory’ photos are still ‘de rigeur’ for foreign travel. Is it OK then to crap in someone else’s backyard?

I would like to see both the mass slaughter, (and photography there-of), of non-pelagics to be as unacceptable as pictures of 50 dead bass/conger have become in the UK, with equal derision heaped on those who persist in the practice. With our modern technology, powerful boats, GPS, 3D sounders and the like, it is quite easy to destroy, in weeks or days, a localised site that would have been sustainable long-term with traditional fishing methods

Surely we should be the enlightened ambassadors of catch and release, setting a good example to third world countries, helping them to preserve their fish stocks.

I do understand that the fish catch is often used to help defray the cost of boat hire, but is this acceptable? Should we not be demanding that none-pelagics are returned – and pay more for the charter for the privilege? – or alternatively negociate cheaper hire on the basis one pays for the catch to be returned?

So much of this is predetermined by the time we arrive at our destination, depending upon whether we are travelling independently or through an agent.

If independent, we can determine the C & R policy before booking, choosing operators who adopt a sensible attitude. If using an agent, they should be able to advise on their company policy, or the policy applying at the destination. Again that gives us, as consumers, the power to pressurise trigger-happy operators to act in the interest of the local community, even if has a negative impact on either the operators profit/glory, or the short-term profit of the boat owners.

With the universal availability of cameras at every turn, gro-pro's, phonecams, videocams etc, isnt it time we glories in our liver returns, filmed/snapped and remembered, rather than the the dried skin and faded colours of sun-dried carcases.

And we have all done things in the past we would never do now, so this is no 'holier than though' sermon. I do rememebr so clearly my first big (to me at least) black marlin at 330lb coming on deck in a non-release tournie, and watch it flush with the most vivid blue as it was hit on the head - and then fade to a dull gey. Never again!

What does everyone else think.
:clap2: I agree wholeheartedly BUT, all the time dead fish bring good money, or, "the local population must be fed", !00% C&R will never happen, 50% maybe. :clap2:
 

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I wish we as anglers could do more to influence the utilization of game fish and reef fish resources in the countries we fish in vis-a-vis all the other interested parties. Sadly we just do not spend enough money to have enough of a say. The resource receives the most protection in countries where sportfishing is big business. There seems to be an inevitable evolution from virgin fishery to heavy exploitation then if lucky, realization of the cash earning potential of the resource resulting in conservation/management. Unfortunately a lot of places are still very much in stage 2. The places that have gotten to stage 3 fully deserve our support but of course the lure of supposedly virgin fisheries, sometimes offered with guides/skippers that don't cost as much as places that have reached stage 3, is highly seductive to most anglers. The price to be paid for going to the newest and hottest places, especially if they're in the third world, is that sportfishing ethics may not have reached stage 3 either.

For every well intentioned conservation argument there is a counter argument, I haven't been to Africa proper but after having visited some parts of Indonesia I can't imagine what Africa must be like. When your deckie who may be on $10/day if he's lucky wishes to take some fish back to his village you are in a tough situation. Insist they get returned and you may have an uncooperative crew for the rest of the trip. If you had to live on that amount per day you'd think the same, I know I would. It is certainly in the immediate interest of the local community to bring back some fish and in most cases your operator would find it totally impossible to operate without the good will of that local community. How much more per day would you be prepared to pay in order for all fish to be returned? How much would the average travelling angler (or Ravelling Tangler)?

I don't go after reef or wreck fish so I'm fortunate not to have to worry about these ethical dilemmas. If I did I suppose I would rely on operator self interest - it's in their interest to generate business/repeat business and as you have pointed out a great many anglers in this enlightened age will refuse to consider a fishing destination, or return to one, if they think it has been fished too hard, and will not consider a fishing operator that they perceive kills too many fish.
 

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:clap2: I actually went as an individual on a boat in Kenya and it was agreed by all concerned that non billfish went to the crew and billfish were C&R. I was lucky enough to hook a sailfish, which when brought alongside was gaffed in the head. When I protested the crewman said, "it was bleeding from the gills". How it could bleed from the gills when the hook was clearly in the base of the bill I don't know. At the end of the day nobody tipped as there was a bucketful of dorado and skipjacks onboard for the crew, as well as one sailfish and everybody was well p****d off about the sailfish, the skipper made a plea for tips, "as the crew didn't get paid, they relied on tips and fish" to live. I said that my sailfish was worth more than my tip and the crew were just being greedy killing everything. The sailfish was sold for US $25 to the hotel and all the other fish went home. :uhuh:
 

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Well mate, how much did you pay for your share and how many hours did you fish? How many other anglers were there? How much more would you have paid to fish with an operation that guaranteed it would put billfish back regardless of condition (after all even one that is bleeding has a better chance in the water than on the deck)? What monetary value would you place on seeing a sailfish swim off? A 150 lb stripey? A 300 lb blue? A 500 lb black? I'd love to know, honest to goodness, I'd love to know.
 

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Well mate, how much did you pay for your share and how many hours did you fish? How many other anglers were there? How much more would you have paid to fish with an operation that guaranteed it would put billfish back regardless of condition (after all even one that is bleeding has a better chance in the water than on the deck)? What monetary value would you place on seeing a sailfish swim off? A 150 lb stripey? A 300 lb blue? A 500 lb black? I'd love to know, honest to goodness, I'd love to know.
:clap2: As an individual I paid US$100, there were 6 on the boat plus skipper and 2 crew, it was a half day. It was already agreed by the main party, and by the skipper, that all billfish went back, and the crew got the remainder. It was out of season for marlin, although the skipper said there was a good chance of a couple, but strangely, no heavy rods were rigged or put out.
Rods in use were 30 + 50lb class with smallish (IMHO) lures. To me it seemed we were fishing for edibles, bonitos and skipjacks, although we had some dorado too. Everything was knocked on the head and thrown in the crews buckets.
If I book a boat I agree the price and what happens to the fish beforehand, if the skipper says all fish are the property of the boat I don't book it, if he wants more money to release billfish I don't book it. If he wants to kill his trade that's up to him, I'm not subsidising his business. My main point was that the agreement was, ALL billfish were released, the one killed wasn't bleeding from the gills, maybe a little from around the hook. as far as I was concerned they were lucky to be paid as they'd broken the agreement and the group that had booked the boat were VERY UNHAPPY. They were paid but not tipped, which I consider generous as they had loads of edibles and had killed a fish which should have been released, as agreed. If they agree to work for nothing except tips and fish then they should keep the paymasters happy, not p*** them off. :uhuh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
>>There seems to be an inevitable evolution from virgin fishery to heavy exploitation then if lucky, realization of the cash earning potential of the resource resulting in conservation/management. Unfortunately a lot of places are still very much in stage 2<<

It is this inevitability I am keen to influence - we are the participators, the exploiters.

Catch and kill is not inevitable in stage 1 places - I am off to Mozambique next year and it is strictly catch and release, except for damaged fish for the table

How we influence the above course of events depends upon who is organising the fishing. Norm sounds as tho this was a casual booking off the beach, using local guys? On a one-off basis, no-one could do more than Norm did - the boat guys knew very firmly that catch and kill was not acceptable. If Norm had been fishing for a week - and cancelled his trips, and provided the next punters (no doubt western-world) had the same attitude, the guys would soon learn that if they want repeat bookings , they have to take anglers' views into consideration.

When responsible operators are involved (eg the Watamu fleet in Kenya) the operators carry the can. We can influence both them, and any tour operators who send us there. German and Italian anglers are renowned in Kenya for wanting to kill everything - so we are already ahead of some other nations.

How much for a marlin? If the boat and crew are paid properly so they profit from every trip, this should not be a problem. Remember that average wages in many 3rd world countries are paltry - several dollars a day only in kenya, so a $10 tip is huge for a crew member in most places.

Operators will find daily profiable bookings with C & R more favourable than no bookings on a catch and kill basis.
 

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The impression I get (which could well be wrong as I've never been there) is that there are quite a few sport fishing boats operating out of some Kenyan ports. In this situation there are almost always good operators and not so good ones, operations that succeed in getting wealthier clients and others that are mainly fished by clients that are willing to/can only spend less. The market eventually sorts out the poor ones... or if there is sufficient client demand for that kind of experience - and there often is if it's priced right, they keep going. In a country where $10 is a big tip and a sailfish is worth $25 the economics of it tell its own story. Maybe the best way for Norm to have made an impression would have been to light a ciggie with three $10 bills and tell the crew it would have gone into their pockets if they had released his fish.

Individually not too many of us spend enough to influence individual operators beyond the time we fish with them, let alone entire fishing locations. I suppose the best way to be influential besides voting directly with your wallet is to make as big a stink about fishing practices you deem offensive as possible (easier than ever before with the internet and facebook) and hope that sufficient clients/potential clients share your opinion that operators start worrying they'll vote with their wallets. Taking lots of photos showing beautiful, live fish being released and putting them on the internet helps reinforce the idea that fish should be released... it all depends on how public an advocate you want to be, how much you want to stick your neck out.

I will admit on the specific subject of billfish release (the only area I am halfway qualified to comment on) I've found places where billfishing has been established have developed quite a range of traditions/attitudes which in most cases reflect the economic value of release vs kill which is different from place to place. I don't (shock horror) believe a certain level of recreational billfish kill is totally at odds with a well managed fishery, swordfish in Florida and striped marlin in New Zealand being two pretty good examples.

Here is a nice little dilemma for you guys to mull over: You're fishing somewhere suitably remote, where few billfish anglers have fished, maybe because of its sheer remoteness. The community has traditionally consumed all pelagic fish. You become acquainted with a skipper who has superb fish sense, fishes longer and harder than anyone else, but he fishes for market, insists on boating every marlin you bring to the boat and gets a good price for them too. Market value of a marlin is maybe about $2.50 per kilo headed and gutted, not all that much to you, so you offer to pay him the market value of his fish (hoping you don't get two 450-pounders in a day...or do you?) but he refuses because of the adulation and respect that bringing in big fish brings from his peers and his community. What do you do - refuse to fish with him and get outfished every day? Fish with him and watch fish after fish get killed? I know absolutely what I'd do.
 

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Maybe the best way for Norm to have made an impression would have been to light a ciggie with three $10 bills and tell the crew it would have gone into their pockets if they had released his fish.

:clap2: Actually, if we'd all tipped $10-$15(standard tip I believe) they'd of had $60-$90 between them, more than the $25 the sailfish fetched, so they saw that the killing of the sailfish cost them money, so wasn't worth it. What I found strange was that the skipper actually intervened on the crew's behalf for the tips, when he was in favour of C&R. I'd of thought he'd of given them a rollocking for going against our wishes and his instructions as it made him look bad and possibly cost him future business. :clap2:
 

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BIG SNIP.
Here is a nice little dilemma for you guys to mull over: You're fishing somewhere suitably remote, where few billfish anglers have fished, maybe because of its sheer remoteness. The community has traditionally consumed all pelagic fish. You become acquainted with a skipper who has superb fish sense, fishes longer and harder than anyone else, but he fishes for market, insists on boating every marlin you bring to the boat and gets a good price for them too. Market value of a marlin is maybe about $2.50 per kilo headed and gutted, not all that much to you, so you offer to pay him the market value of his fish (hoping you don't get two 450-pounders in a day...or do you?) but he refuses because of the adulation and respect that bringing in big fish brings from his peers and his community. What do you do - refuse to fish with him and get outfished every day? Fish with him and watch fish after fish get killed? I know absolutely what I'd do.
:clap2: Easy one. As I don't think I could handle too many big fish in a day, due to lower back problems and muscle wastage, the fact that I probably get as much pleasure from seeing a good fish swim away as I did catching it, I'd turn down the offer of killing loads of superb fish. Locally they may be abundant but fish move around and they may be breeding elsewhere, so killing these "abundant fish" in one spot could mean a shortage of them elsewhere and an overall decline in stocks nationally. No problem with "one for the pot" but to kill everything to massage an ego, even mine, is a no, no as far as I'm concerned. :clap2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What do you do - refuse to fish with him and get outfished every day? Fish with him and watch fish after fish get killed? I know absolutely what I'd do.
There are not many places in the world where over a season a skipper would get more revenue selling marlin than charging a proper rate every day - too many blank days. So it might mean say 200 days at $600 c & R versus 50 days at $400 plus value of catch. The cost of the releases is therefore spread over all the anglers.

And of course nothing is absolute - I guess most of us would accept one billfish kill once in a while for local populations, whereas killing 2 or 3 a day would be unacceptable.

My main point though was inshore and reef fishing, prompted by seeing boatfulls of gambian jacks from undiscovered wrecks. What chance of catching fish of that size again there in 12 months? Who gains there?
 

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:clap2: Actually, if we'd all tipped $10-$15(standard tip I believe) they'd of had $60-$90 between them, more than the $25 the sailfish fetched, so they saw that the killing of the sailfish cost them money, so wasn't worth it. What I found strange was that the skipper actually intervened on the crew's behalf for the tips, when he was in favour of C&R. I'd of thought he'd of given them a rollocking for going against our wishes and his instructions as it made him look bad and possibly cost him future business. :clap2:
That's a big if Norm. I bet the crew reckoned that only the angler who caught the sailfish would tip, and I dare say in the majority of cases they could well be right.

I don't mean to sound like an apologist for every poor charter operator out there (although I've had the opportunity to work on charterboats, fortunately for more than $10 a day, and can see where they're coming from) as there's no doubt that they should have respected what had already been agreed upon. But charterboats aren't by any means the only business out there that at times turns a Nelsonian eye to customer wishes (if only they were!). Also, let's not forget how jaded dealing with the average holiday punter can leave one - just ask any UK skipper.

There aren't too many places where the scenario I mentioned (with regard to marlin) happens, as tourists and the industries they support have reached most parts of the world where marlin are found - but those situations do exist. The best examples are probably in some of the Polynesian and South Pacific islands that are right smack in the middle of marlin territory but see less tourist traffic because of sheer remoteness.

I just had a look at that Gambian jack thread again and truthfully, mate... does 5 jacks really constitute a "boat full"? Besides, you didn't think they were that big anyway... It's by no means the only thread featuring big dead inshore/reef fish, either - what about the amberjacks and dogtooth tunas in the other thread? They're just as dead as the Gambian crevalle jacks, and the big dogtooth is an insanely magnificent specimen of its kind. That one fish alone is a boatfull!
 

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Hi All,

Well, I must say this has been a very interesting thread, and great to hear some of the opinions expressed on the matter.

Of course, the practicality of returning the types of fish you are referring to in terms of reef/wreck/bottom fish has to also be taken into account - I think it is difficult to draw direct comparisons between a billfish that is cleanly hooked, and after a short(ish) fight released in good condition to grouper species for example pulled up from depths of over 80-100 meters, and suffering barotrauma to boot - trying to return such a fish is effectively feeding it to the sharks, and then the debate over whether such a fish should be kept (or indeed, fished for at all for the conservation minded?) becomes less clear..

I am 'the culprit' in terms of the large dogtooth mentioned in the above post- indeed, you will also see another recent trip where I am standing beside a rather large, and very dead bluefin tuna. Perhaps that paints the picture of a non conservation minded angler, but when you delve a little deeper, I would like to think I can justify both instances.

Unfortunately, dogtooth taken from depth (and this one was taken at considerable depth) will, quite simply not go back - the barotrauma and bleeding they suffer when they come to the surface effectively means such a fish cannot be released. Smaller specimens in shallower water - yes, they can go back, but they are a delicate species, no doubt about that. GT's on the other hand, like most trevally species - including jack crevalle, are considerably more hardy, and far easier to release - and indeed, on this trip all GT's were released, as were the hundreds of GT's taken whilst I fished out in Madagascar, with one or two 'keep to eat / give to camp exceptions'. In Madagascar we had many 60 plus fish days - and yes, if we had kept all these fish, I could not justify it in the slightest, even in a very poor country with many hungry mouths, but to keep 4-5 fish a day, well - I could justify that..

So, the first question that needs to be asked perhaps, even before getting onto the more complex debate elucidated upon above pertaining to fish market value's / sporting ethics / value as food fish versus sport fish, is whether some species can be released at all in certain circumstances, with a good chance of survival upon doing so..?

In terms of the bluefin, Canada has a very strictly controlled, limited and well regulated commercial fishery for this species (the same cannot be said for all nations fortunate enough to have bluefin in their waters); as such a very limited number of fish can be kept, and processed for export to the Japanese market. In a small fishing village such as Canso, which largely depends upon its fishing for its 'existence', it is a small but quite lucrative part of a number of commercial vessels livelihoods. Now, the fish in question was taken as part of a 'competitive quota' - if we had not taken this specimen in, another boat would have caught fish and filled the 'vacant quota'. As such, both the boat and client were happy - the boat for the revenue generated by the sales of such a fish (as well as a charter cost paid by the clients), and the clients for having the opportunity to get a photo taken beside such a magnificent creature...Selfish - well perhaps.

Circumstances are often not clear cut, and generalisations in fishing, like many other facets of life, are often difficult to make..

My '2 cents' worth..

Cheers, RF.
 

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Hi All,

Well, I must say this has been a very interesting thread, and great to hear some of the opinions expressed on the matter.

Of course, the practicality of returning the types of fish you are referring to in terms of reef/wreck/bottom fish has to also be taken into account - I think it is difficult to draw direct comparisons between a billfish that is cleanly hooked, and after a short(ish) fight released in good condition to grouper species for example pulled up from depths of over 80-100 meters, and suffering barotrauma to boot - trying to return such a fish is effectively feeding it to the sharks, and then the debate over whether such a fish should be kept (or indeed, fished for at all for the conservation minded?) becomes less clear..

I am 'the culprit' in terms of the large dogtooth mentioned in the above post- indeed, you will also see another recent trip where I am standing beside a rather large, and very dead bluefin tuna. Perhaps that paints the picture of a non conservation minded angler, but when you delve a little deeper, I would like to think I can justify both instances.

Unfortunately, dogtooth taken from depth (and this one was taken at considerable depth) will, quite simply not go back - the barotrauma and bleeding they suffer when they come to the surface effectively means such a fish cannot be released. Smaller specimens in shallower water - yes, they can go back, but they are a delicate species, no doubt about that. GT's on the other hand, like most trevally species - including jack crevalle, are considerably more hardy, and far easier to release - and indeed, on this trip all GT's were released, as were the hundreds of GT's taken whilst I fished out in Madagascar, with one or two 'keep to eat / give to camp exceptions'. In Madagascar we had many 60 plus fish days - and yes, if we had kept all these fish, I could not justify it in the slightest, even in a very poor country with many hungry mouths, but to keep 4-5 fish a day, well - I could justify that..

So, the first question that needs to be asked perhaps, even before getting onto the more complex debate elucidated upon above pertaining to fish market value's / sporting ethics / value as food fish versus sport fish, is whether some species can be released at all in certain circumstances, with a good chance of survival upon doing so..?

In terms of the bluefin, Canada has a very strictly controlled, limited and well regulated commercial fishery for this species (the same cannot be said for all nations fortunate enough to have bluefin in their waters); as such a very limited number of fish can be kept, and processed for export to the Japanese market. In a small fishing village such as Canso, which largely depends upon its fishing for its 'existence', it is a small but quite lucrative part of a number of commercial vessels livelihoods. Now, the fish in question was taken as part of a 'competitive quota' - if we had not taken this specimen in, another boat would have caught fish and filled the 'vacant quota'. As such, both the boat and client were happy - the boat for the revenue generated by the sales of such a fish (as well as a charter cost paid by the clients), and the clients for having the opportunity to get a photo taken beside such a magnificent creature...Selfish - well perhaps.

Circumstances are often not clear cut, and generalisations in fishing, like many other facets of life, are often difficult to make..

My '2 cents' worth..

Cheers, RF.
:clap2: Each to his own and we can usually justify what we do. I used to belong to a shooting syndicate, shooting over 3.000 acres of mixed arable and woodland with 2 rivers on the boundaries and a couple of flight/fishing ponds.
I list in my hobbies, fishing, shooting and conservation, this causes a wry smile from some of my friends who say, "how can you be a conservationist when you shoot and fish"? My answer is that what we shoot we put there, pheasants, if shoots didn't rear pheasants there wouldn't be any to shoot. To keep our pheasants happy we look after the countryside, cut sunny clearings in the trees, plant wildlife friendly crops, put out feed, control the vermin, foxes, corvids, rats, squirrels etc. By doing this we encourage other forms of wildlife to live in the shoot, safe and well fed. I've also stocked the flight ponds with frog and toad spawn, plus pondweed and newts so as they are an eco system on their own. A well managed shoot will have a lot more wildlife than the normal countryside. Butterflies on the game crops, various insects and animals in the sunny clearings in the trees, water beetles, dragonflies and damsel flies etc on the ponds. That's how shooting lives side by side with conservation, as do anglers with pond and river maintenance. No anglers and the ponds and rivers would choke up with weeds and trees as it wouldn't be in anyone's interest to keep them clear. :clap2:
 

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I have only been out on one game fishing boat in Phucket thailand which was an individual day with 6 anglers.
1 sailfish was caught which i thought was a beautiful fish untill it got banged on the head, the skipper explained it would feed the crews family for a week, I still don't like the thought of them being killed.
In the uk i love ray fishing, i have only kept one in the last four years which went to my aunt, all the rest go back. Bass over 6lb go back as i don't think these taste as nice as 3 - 4lb fish. most other fish cod/plaice/brill/turbot i tend to keep and hand out to my aunts and retired friends.
whats the difference from me and the mentioned crew above!
will seriously have to rethink C&R.
one further point i was recently told of a trawler catching over 1 tonne or rays in a single night from the shambles bank near weymouth, i wonder what the long liners take elsewhere in the world!
 
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