What? FishSmart is a science-based, proactive approach to solving a major challenge to recreational fishing in the future: reducing the mortality of fish stocks while enhancing the fishing experience.
How? FishSmart utilizes two basic approaches: 1) developing fishing techniques and management approaches that reduce the catch of unwanted species or sizes, and; 2) improving the survival of released fish.
Who? Meeting this challenge will require the combined efforts of the entire recreational fishing community, including anglers, manufacturers, retailers, media, and the agencies responsible for managing fishery resources.
Why? FishSmart is the next step in the evolution of growing the sport of fishing and enhancing angler’s time-honored image as conservationists.. The growing use of voluntary catch-and-release and the explosion of management measures that require anglers to release fish have resulted in post release mortality rates that must be minimized. Nearly ½ billion saltwater fish are caught each year with 59% of those being returned to the water. In freshwater, promotion of Best Practices in live release tournaments (bass and trout, for example) have contributed to healthy fishery resources.
Action: FishSmart is a program driven by the angling community, not a top-down government program. It will utilize several approaches consisting of; 1) expanding our understanding of released fish survival; 2) developing new equipment where necessary to enhance released fish survival, 3) promoting the adoption of careful release techniques to anglers, and; 4) developing communication in programs to help anglers implement these best practices
Impact: By encouraging careful fishing and release techniques we can save millions of fish for the future. In some heavily fished fisheries, increasing the survival of fish will be the only way that we can allow participation and have healthy sustainable fish populations.
Plain and simple, FishSmart is the right thing to do. Our sport is being held to higher standards and greater scrutiny in today’s world and it is vital that industry, government and anglers cooperate in promoting responsible stewardship of fishery resources.
FishSmart - It's Up To You!