Fishing ethics could be evaluated as what anglers do when they are unobserved.
Ethics govern impulses when no one is looking.
Basically, fishing ethics is conscience.
Millions of anglers fish. Without ethical anglers following fisheries regulations, there would soon be little of value left to catch.
Ethical fishermen don't keep fish caught out of season. They don't keep egg-bearing females during the sport season either. Without ethical fishermen highly valued species could literally be eliminated from a fishery.
Ninety-nine out of a hundred anglers are law abiding. Based on arrest records, that one-in-100 violator adds up to appalling 30,000 law breakers every year.
LIMIT YOUR TAKE; DON'T TAKE THE LIMIT.
While there is nothing illegal about taking home a full limit of fish, day after day, that number adds up to more fresh fish than most of us could comfortably eat, and results in unnecessary stress on fish populations. The brightest hope for continued availability of sportfish is for all of us to limit our take, rather than take our limit.
Diversity is another answer for the ethical angler. By targeting more than one species of fish, pressured fish populations will receive a needed rest.
Fish have invaluable worth as living creatures to be admired for their beauty and grace; appreciated for their individual adaptations for survival. By learning respect for all the forces that must work in harmony to produce a healthy marine resource, we can ensure good fishing for generations to come. After all, respect for nature and for other anglers is what fishing ethics is all about.
THE ETHICAL ANGLER:
Information provided by IGFA
- Can identify most of the species commonly caught in their area, and knows the current regulations for each. Understands the legal requirements for licenses and stamps.
- Appreciates the importance of habitat and a clean environment. Knows how to fight and release fish in a manner that gives the fish the best possible chance of survival.
- Understands and observes safe boating practices; is conscious of his boat's wake, and does not speed past anchored boats, anglers on shore, swimmers or non-motorized craft.
- is courteous of others and does not "move in" on another fishermen's spot.
- Keeps trash out of the water, disposing of fishing line, napkins, food containers and other waste in a proper receptacle ashore.
- Shares his ethics and expertise with others.
- Abides by the law, and is not afraid to report those who do not.