The latest National Wildlife Federation report on wildlife and fisheries shows that as many of a third of America’s species are critically endangered. The New England brown trout in the eastern half of the country is only 10 percent of what it used to be. 17 different state wildlife agencies are working to restore them. Preserving aquatic life is vital, and no time is more important than it is now.
There are many different methods of protecting fish and wildlife. Many groups such as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Trout Unlimited, Bass Unlimited, and many others are working to create suitable ecosystems and habitats. Water quality, forage fish, aquatic insects and spawning grounds are part of their overall approach to preserving aquatic life. Marine conservation is the focus of other groups such as NOAA, Ocean Conservancy and Oceana. You will balance trade and recreational needs, assess ocean health, and set legal lengths and daily limits.
In short, fish protection means we need to catch more fish. Anglers work hard to make sure fish and wildlife protection is successful. Some of us collect rubbish along the banks, others work with stakeholders to create habitat. Others raise awareness and earn money so that these fish and wildlife protection groups can fund research or political lobbying. When we buy equipment, our purchases fund the sport fish restoration program, and 100 percent of that funds go towards preserving aquatic life across the country
But I preach to the choir. They are all anglers that are part of the solution. What we need is help and support from non-fishermen and women. Perhaps the best way to get them interested in fish and wildlife conservation is to get them fishing and boating. Once you’ve decided on our favorite sports, you’ll want to do whatever it takes to make them flourish. And remember that by purchasing your fishing license you are protecting, preserving and improving the sport of fishing today and for future generations.
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.