World Rivers Day is September 27th! There are a number of reasons to value these beautiful natural wonders, from the fun family days of swimming, to exciting white water rafting trips. A very popular reason why people love rivers so much is because they provide the means to engage in fishing. However, this recreational activity could harm our rivers and the life in them. So, it is important that we engage in sustainable fishing practices. Here are a few practices you could follow.
Swap your Tackle
Unfortunately, most fishing jigs and weights contain lead. Lead is toxic. Fish that are exposed to enough of this harmful chemical can suffer from many health issues, including paralysis and reproductive problems. And I’m sure none of us want to hurt the poor fish. Also, contaminated fish who swallowed some of this toxic gear could hurt or even kill creatures that consume them. Furthermore, tackle containing lead can slowly dissolve over time and contaminate the groundwater in rivers. This could be dangerous for plants, animals, and even people that come in contact with it. Luckily for us, there is a simple practice to prevent all these issues: lead-free fishing equipment. It is eco-friendly and easy to find. So, help protect our rivers and those who inhabit them by choosing to go green.
Catch & Release Fishing
Catch and release is a conservation technique used to protect ecosystems while still allowing recreational fishing. Through this practice, the fisherman quickly releases the fish back into the area in which they caught it. This technique allows the fish to remain in their ecosystem and reproduce, ensuring the survival of the species. However, it is important that this technique is practiced correctly or the fish could still end up hurt or even dead. So, make sure you do your research and learn the proper way to engage in this practice before heading out to the rivers. The fish will thank you, and I will, too.
Target Some Fish, Save Others
Some species of fish can be harmful to the environment they are in. Invasive fish, for example, are usually species that are not native to the ecosystem they are harming. They simply ended up there through a mistake. These fish can take over (or invade) an environment and hurt the native species that occupy it by consuming all nutrients in plants or other species. This can lead to a complete change in the chain that allows the ecosystem to function. So, join the fight and help rid ecosystems of invasive species by targeting them next time you go fishing.
Other species of fish you could focus on are overpopulated ones. It is important to control the population of fish within a certain ecosystem. Too much of one species could harm the flora and fauna inhabiting the environment. So, target species that need to be reduced as well. You’ll still be fishing, and you will be protecting our planet.
Don’t be “that guy”
Do not leave your trash behind. Trash is extremely harmful to our planet and all its inhabitants. A great part of the ocean’s pollution problem comes from the trash brought in by rivers. The next time you go fishing, make sure you are leaving the area in a better state than you found it. Say no to leaving behind fishing line, soda cans, and sandwich bags. You know better!
Lastly, park & wildlife regulations are there for a reason. Follow them! It’s not that hard, and it will ensure our rivers are still here for future generations to enjoy. Now get out there and start fishing!