In this months edition of Saltwater Sportsman, our good friend on this forum, Broadbill Pro, writes a letter to the editor with the same title as this thread. I love ya Vinnie but you are way off base on this one!
Well it appears I am a couple weeks behind on this one. I was told that the article was printed, but have yet to see the reply. If you can please email it to me. I don't subscribe and can not find a copy of the rag anywhere. None of our local stores that sell fishing mags seems to carry SWS??
I'm feeling a bit like a character actor who is always defined by a single role. Though I am proud of that role, it is far from my only experience in the industry.
I'll keep this short and as simple as possible. The intention of the article was to make one point, that catch and release as a directed fishery is unethical. Nothing in my comments points to bycatch, whether by recreational or commercial fishing. If a sailfish is released while recreational fishing for mackeral or even while fishing for a sailfish to eat I have no issue with it. Unintended bycatch is an unfortunate part of fishing.
You my friend and probably the magazine make everything into a longline issue. Hell, cancer and world peace would probably be memories if longlining were banned by your standards. My vessels do not place a bait on a hook unless the intention is to harvest a fish.
The hypocrisy remains with those who masquerade as conservationists while killing fish for entertainment. Someone on this forum once said, please stay on topic.
Of course you are correct here, but I think what you are missing is that it would go a long way towards rectifying the hypocrisy accusation on C&R if there was admission to the real effect on the fishery. It may not be statistically significant, but the C&R guys act like they are doing the fish and the world a favor by burning lots of fuel while tormenting game fish on the lightest tackle practical, and denying that it could ever possible result in the killing and waste of the fish. We all know different. Hell, half the sails I accidentally catch while live baiting with circle hooks for desirable species (i.e. not sailfish) need extensive care to get swimming again, even though I'm using heavy gear to bring them in quickly. And I stopped using J-hooks just because of the incidental sails because the ratio was much higher then.
Look at previous threads here on FS - there is some kind of sick hypocrisy in literally worshipping sailfish and damning anyone that takes one to smoke while simultaneously seeing how many you can hook, manhandle/chase down/break off in a single day, Look at the PTTS. Look at the SKA and the redfish tournaments. These are nothing more than floating circuses exploiting the fish.
C&R guys have to get off the high horse. Just because they prefer their kill be out of sight and out of mind, and prefer expensive imported products, doesn't make them better than anyone else. The sooner they realize that, the sooner we can get this behind us and all be pulling together. C&R guys are an important conservation ally, but they are not the fish's saviours.
The only part of this I disagree with is that Ron is correct. Even if he was, it's a different topic.
Curiosity killed the cat, found the magazine at West Marine. Must say I was disappointed by the futile response from the Editor. Like Ron he reminded us that I was a Longliner which only confirms I know more about fish than most. Then he adds that all of last year 52,000 pounds of white marlin were killed by Longlines but fails to mention that 15,000 pounds were killed in just a few days by only the boats in the Ocean City tournament. That does not include days if not a week of pre-fishing by tournament boats or the other two or three months that White Marlin are targeted in the Northeast by hundreds of recreational vessels. Lastly he reinforces my assumption he is a hypocrite by using the glass house analogy when that was what prompted me to write in the first place.
BTW, they also decided not to print my entire letter. Below is the rest of it.
On another note, the recent approval of the Billfish Conservation Act does nothing to protect billfish and only diverts inexpensive protein to other Nations. HMS species cannot be managed unilaterally, the conservation effort of the United States alone does nothing except enhance production for other fishing Nations. A few years back, I told the IGFA Representative that was spearheading an effort to make the sale of billfish illegal in Hawaii that he was wasting his time, it appears I was correct.
"The hypocrisy remains with those who masquerade as conservationists while killing fish for entertainment."
Wow. So I guess in order to be a conservationist, you have to totally not fish (due to the killing of fish to bycatch mortality in a catch and release fishery)?
What a bogus and elitist statement from someone who professes to know so much about our fisheries. The American recreational fishermen are on the front line of conservation and have proven time and again that they are the very best stewards of our nation's fisheries.
It seems pretty simple: 1) if 52,000 lbs of white marlin were killed by PLL, that is way too much unnecessary killing; 2) if 15,000 lbs of white marlin were killed and discarded in a rec tournament, that is way too much unnecessary killing.
Another thought on the rec mortality is: a majority of rec anglers exclusively release sailfish even though they are allowed to harvest many of the fish they catch. No one will know for sure if a released fish will survive. But isnt it more conservation minded to give up the meal and release the fish even if there is a 20% or 30% or whatever percentage chance that the fish will die? there is still a good shot it will live. More living fish is better for the species then fish taken to the smoker. According to BP's theory, he would not have a problem if the fish were taken to the smoker. It seems to me that its better for the species to skip the smoked fish dip and take the chance of the fish surviving.
Then after my sailfish releases maybe I'll go to Mr Fish and buy some commercial caught tuna, make fish tacos, and everyone will be happy.
It seems pretty simple: But isnt it more conservation minded to give up the meal and release the fish even if there is a 20% or 30% or whatever percentage chance that the fish will die? there is still a good shot it will live. More living fish is better for the species then fish taken to the smoker.
Isn't even more conservation minded to not even go fishing in the first place, especially if your only intent is to enjoy watching animals fight to live, and perhaps die, strictly for your entertainment?
The answer to your question is 'No'. C&R has no moral or ethical high ground over fishermen harvesting fish sustainably, whether it be commercial or recreational. In fact it could be argued to be more unethical, both due to the above-mentioned torment strictly for entertainment purposes, and the waste in natural resources including fuel. And I fully agree 15,000 lb of dead white marlin for cash, prizes, ego, and no food, is a disgrace.
No high horse here. I fully support fishing for consumption regardless of the species. In the day when one or two billfish were released per trip the theory that they have a better chance of survival had merit, but in todays world with 10 or 20 releases per day of sailfish for example the mortality far outweighs that of killing a legal limit and then either stop fishing or move on to another target species.
A conservationist by definition would not be a hunter or fisherman. Targeting a species for catch and release while knowing that mortality is possible is irresponsible. Call yourself what you will, but killing fish for anything less than food is immoral. Regardless of the millions of fish I have caught including bycatch, not a single one was killed only to prove I could.
I was under the impression that the whites killed in the WMO were donated to local charities and eaten. Wouldn't this be considered the most ethical use of the fish by those that see C&R as immoral? How could one argue that, on one hand, C&R is torturing a fish and we should only fish for what we plan to harvest then, on the other hand, use a kill tournament as an example of recs taking too many fish?
WD: there is no question that stopping all fishing, rec and commercial, is best for the species and most conservationist. Is that what you are advocating for? You appear to be commercial, so I doubt that this is what you want since you may make your living from the sea. If you're not advocating for a shut down of fishing then why ask the question? If your only point is that fish die when caught by recs, then i agree with you and there is no debate.
Also, you did not answer my question. You answered a question about morality and ethics, which were not referenced in my comments. All I said is that it is better for the species to be released then it is to be harvested for food. Is that not true? The difference between rec and commercial is that a rec will release fish they can legally keep and a commercial guy will not. With the assumption that both recs and commercials are going to continue to fish, it is better for the species to be released by a rec guy.
And your comments about torment, ethics, etc are not necessary or on point to my comments. Everyone knows that when a fish is on a hook it is struggling for its life. I don't need anyone, especially a guy that kills fish for profit, to speak to my morals and ethics. And I do not challenge your morals or ethics if you commercial fish within the regulations that are imposed on us.
Finally, do you also agree that 52,000 lbs of dead white marlin from PLL is way too much?