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Conservation thoughts and questions

Old 04-10-2006, 03:54 PM
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Default Conservation thoughts and questions

Put simply, I don't get the keep the big ones and release the little ones conservation theory.

The big ones are breeding now. They are the lucky, healthy, smart ones that made it through. They are also the ones that carry higher levels of mercury, lead, histamines, other heavy metals and toxins, and even ciguatera. It makes no sense to me to kill and eat the big ones.

Nature has provided that most animals produce huge numbers of offspring relative to the ones that reach sexual maturity. The many small ones provide food for the entire food chain, while the breeders keep breeding. The small ones also carry much lower levels of toxins and frankly, taste much better.

In the U.S. we only keep the fish that (generally) have reached sexual maturity. So it's no surprise that, in most places, the number of mature fish have declined sharply (note the recent losure of the grouper fishery). In the Bahamas, the rules are much different. Most reef fish only need to be 3 pounds to be taken. While this sounds backwards to many Americans, the result is plainly visible. There are large numbers of breeders out in deep water.

Why not keep and eat the small ones and release the breeders unharmed?
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:09 PM
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Is it possible that the absorbed "toxins" in the larger fish could be passed into the gene pool and therefore the offspring could be "born" with a level too high for consumption???? Combine the genetic toxin level added to the absorbed level and wouldn't that fish be inedible???? I can see a downward spiral if that were to occur........
I'm not trying to be a smart azz, but since I don't eat fish (and haven't for 45 years) I don't have a clue as to what levels would be too high to eat......
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:12 PM
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Recreational fishing is not the problem (in most cases) , so there goes that theory. Indiscriminate commercial fishing methods like longlining, pair trawling, "rock hopper" bottom trawls, gill netting, blah blah blah are why there have been incredible declines in most fisheries.
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:21 PM
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Oh, I do not disagree at all. Look, I need an HMS permit to keep one skipjack tuna, but can buy all I want (in any variety) in cans. What a (conservation) joke. Unfortunately, the recreational regulations do not recognize your (and my) contention. Those regulations (except where slots exist) encourage the elimination of breeding stock.

Think about it, the commercial guys are particularly motivated to target the largest of any species, since they sell by the pound.

We're supposed to release any black grouper under 24". We should be releasing any that are more than, say, 28".
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Old 04-10-2006, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Conservation thoughts and questions

I disagree with the theory of eatin size cull the largest ones works for me Take humans as an example The chances for healthy babies and mothers are much higher for 18-29 year old women than for 39yo wouldn't you agree
Same for animals 2yr deer vs 10yr deer I would assume it's the same for fish If you target prime breeding size/age class vs older beyond prime you would see a decline in quaility/quantity in the long run
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:01 PM
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BB, I would be very surprised if levels of heavy metals were passed on to offspring the way genetically controlled traits are. That would be like having children with 9 fingers because you once had an accident with a table saw. The only toxins the parents would pass on would be those deposited in the yolk by the mother.
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:24 PM
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Default RE: Conservation thoughts and questions

So exactly how much more discriminating is a rec-baited hook vs a longline hook.

In most fishes ,the older fish provide more, and more viable eggs. But I'm sure there a point at which the trend reverses.

As for reef fishes, some of them - sea basses, groupers, tilefish - all start out as females and flip over to males when they reach a certain size -protogenous hermaphrodites (sp).

Plus the big fish had the same genes when they were small & young & breeding as when they are old and breeding. So they were passing along their part of the genes for size when they were samll as they were when they are big.

So it depends.

Your reasoning is good if you aren't going to eat the fish. And top level predators do concentrate heavy metals as they age so the older fish have higher concentrations.

I personally don't kill a big fish just 'cause it's a big fish.

So it depends.
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:56 PM
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Default RE: Conservation thoughts and questions

BaitWaster - 4/10/2006 5:24 PM

So exactly how much more discriminating is a rec-baited hook vs a longline hook.
That is a simple one. A great % of the fish released by rec anglers will survive. "Dead Discards" are what we get from commercial gear. White Marlin are a perfect example of this.
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:19 PM
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I would venture to guess that with most big pelagic game fish (tunas, etc.), unless you're horsing them in within 10 minutes with 130# gear, they're dead as a stone no matter whether you eat them or set them free.

It always cracks me up to see these guys who try to set IGFA line-class records, where they're fighting a 200# fish for 10 hours on 6# tackle ... and then they make a big deal about their "conservation ethics" when they let it go. If that fish hasn't been chomped in half within 30 seconds by a bigger predator, then it's going to auger into the bottom like a dock piling...crab bait.

Let's face it, with the lactic acid buildup in the tissues, the overheating of BFT muscle tissue, the hours of "fish in distress" vibrations and electrical signals that a hooked game fish sends out to predators over the course of a fight, and the inability of exhausted fish to escape predators ... big fish are probably usually toast after a long fight. It's a nice sentiment about wanting to let them go ... and an admirable one ... but in most cases, I think that's all it is: Sentiment.
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:29 PM
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capt crunch - 4/10/2006 6:19 PM

I would venture to guess that with most big pelagic game fish (tunas, etc.), unless you're horsing them in within 10 minutes with 130# gear, they're dead as a stone no matter whether you eat them or set them free.

It always cracks me up to see these guys who try to set IGFA line-class records, where they're fighting a 200# fish for 10 hours on 6# tackle ... and then they make a big deal about their "conservation ethics" when they let it go. If that fish hasn't been chomped in half within 30 seconds by a bigger predator, then it's going to auger into the bottom like a dock piling...crab bait.

Let's face it, with the lactic acid buildup in the tissues, the overheating of BFT muscle tissue, the hours of "fish in distress" vibrations and electrical signals that a hooked game fish sends out to predators over the course of a fight, and the inability of exhausted fish to escape predators ... big fish are probably usually toast after a long fight. It's a nice sentiment about wanting to let them go ... and an admirable one ... but in most cases, I think that's all it is: Sentiment.
Satellite pop up tags (and more generally fish tagging) have proven your premise completely false. Do some fish die? Yes. The vast majority (over 90% in many cases) of recreationally caught fish survive after release. This is real data, promulgated by scientists, and for the most part indisputable. Dead fish do not swim 1000 miles in depths raging from the surface to 500 fathoms and then have that data transmitted to a satellite by a pop up tag. I hope you take the time to look at some of this research and modify your opinions regarding c&r.
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:05 PM
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I think you missed what he was talking about YoungersGhost. You're right, a quick fight on appropriate tackle and a quick release, science is telling us that most of those fish survieve. After a 5 hr fight with a 200 lb Sail on 6 lb test, that fish is dead, you better believe that. Remeber, the fish with the Satelite tags where caugt and released by the scientists, they were winched in, tagged and released in a few minutes, of course they're going to survive. I think that 90% number is a little skewed because of all of the light tackle junkies out there (myself included). You also have to take into account the number of people who don't know how to handle a fish they plan to release. I see it all the time, using a towel for grip, taking 10 minutes worth of pictures, chucking the fish overboard instead of reviving it, lip gaffing (the books still out on that one) etc. etc. For any of you all reading this wanting to learn more about careful catch and release you should check out this website http://www.ccamd.org/conservation/Careful.htm If we all paid more attention to the suggestions made here that 90% number might be more accurate, but for now I don't think so.
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:37 PM
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YoungersGhost - 4/10/2006 8:29 PM
Satellite pop up tags (and more generally fish tagging) have proven your premise completely false. Do some fish die? Yes. The vast majority (over 90% in many cases) of recreationally caught fish survive after release. This is real data, promulgated by scientists, and for the most part indisputable. Dead fish do not swim 1000 miles in depths raging from the surface to 500 fathoms and then have that data transmitted to a satellite by a pop up tag. I hope you take the time to look at some of this research and modify your opinions regarding c&r.
Here's some data:

http://www.microwavetelemetry.com/Fi...es_article.php Here's some date. 5 of 21 rec caught died. 1 of 2 from longline.

And some more: http://www.vims.edu/fish/fishgenetic...-500K_2004.pdf May be the same study. 20-30#, 4-8 sec drop back. 7 of 20 rec caught with "j" hooks died. Their estimate from this small study was 35% of whites caught on "J" hooks died but with a small sample size the confidence interval was 15% to 59%.

And far from being universally fatal, 65% of whites are alive at longline haulback and 8 of 10 with the archival tags survived 10 days.

And this: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...111201187/pg_4 80% of blue marlins survived. One swan 608 nm and another 1217 nm.

So, in these small studies, rec don't do as good as we think and commercials don't do as bad as we think.

And I seriously doubt if 90% of the gag, tag & brag marlin survive. Circles with a short fight time show great promise and will likely hit the 90% mark since less likely to stick a gill or a major vessel in the gullet.

And since the whites are caught during the daytime on longlines, requiring night soaks in certain areas will likely lower the longline damage.

Interesting the only white I've caught in the US had a longline circle hook in it jaw.
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:22 AM
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YoungersGhost -
Don't take me wrong on c&r. I'm all for it, especially when practiced right. And I'm not trying to say that rec anglers do more damage than comm fishermen, because I don't believe that, either.
I'm just warning that we shouldn't get all sanctimonious and "holier than thou" with the comm boys or with the "meat fishermen" about c&r – especially when we're talking about extended battles on undersize tackle. When we let THOSE fish go and try to puff ourselves up about our "conservation ethics," we're not doing ANYBODY any good – not true conservationists, not the idea of conservation in the eyes of the public, and certainly not the fish...which almost certainly ends up as "shark dinner" or otherwise dead or as soon as it's out of camera range. As far as I'm concerned, in such cases, we might as well eat the fish ourselves, or give them to someone who might enjoy them, rather than watch them go to waste while trying to convince ourselves we did no harm. At least then we would be feeding hungry humans and showing the value of rec fishing.
Just my 2˘.
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Old 04-11-2006, 08:12 AM
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capt crunch - 4/11/2006 6:22 AM

YoungersGhost -
Don't take me wrong on c&r. I'm all for it, especially when practiced right. And I'm not trying to say that rec anglers do more damage than comm fishermen, because I don't believe that, either.
I'm just warning that we shouldn't get all sanctimonious and "holier than thou" with the comm boys or with the "meat fishermen" about c&r – especially when we're talking about extended battles on undersize tackle. When we let THOSE fish go and try to puff ourselves up about our "conservation ethics," we're not doing ANYBODY any good – not true conservationists, not the idea of conservation in the eyes of the public, and certainly not the fish...which almost certainly ends up as "shark dinner" or otherwise dead or as soon as it's out of camera range. As far as I'm concerned, in such cases, we might as well eat the fish ourselves, or give them to someone who might enjoy them, rather than watch them go to waste while trying to convince ourselves we did no harm. At least then we would be feeding hungry humans and showing the value of rec fishing.
Just my 2˘.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:47 AM
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capt crunch - 4/11/2006 5:22 AM

YoungersGhost -
Don't take me wrong on c&r. I'm all for it, especially when practiced right. And I'm not trying to say that rec anglers do more damage than comm fishermen, because I don't believe that, either.
I'm just warning that we shouldn't get all sanctimonious and "holier than thou" with the comm boys or with the "meat fishermen" about c&r – especially when we're talking about extended battles on undersize tackle. When we let THOSE fish go and try to puff ourselves up about our "conservation ethics," we're not doing ANYBODY any good – not true conservationists, not the idea of conservation in the eyes of the public, and certainly not the fish...which almost certainly ends up as "shark dinner" or otherwise dead or as soon as it's out of camera range. As far as I'm concerned, in such cases, we might as well eat the fish ourselves, or give them to someone who might enjoy them, rather than watch them go to waste while trying to convince ourselves we did no harm. At least then we would be feeding hungry humans and showing the value of rec fishing.
Just my 2˘.
You're free to disagree...just as you're free to be wrong.
My point had nothing to do with undersize tackle. I would think someone targeting billfish on 6lb test is going to try and hang that fish anyway. My own experience tagging billfish, tuna and sharks (and more recently dolphin) has been good. So far 7 tag returns with interesting data. We use primarily 30 and 50 lb tackle, try to get the fish to the boat quickly, and release healthy unless it is a meat fish we want to eat. I still use J hooks for trolling offshore and rarely gut hook fish. I can only remember 2 or 3 whites that were in bad shape. I use J hooks for live bait sailfishing as well, and the incidence of gut hooked fish is very low, the primary reason I have not switched to circles. I appreciate the point BigBone is trying to make, but his opinion does nothing in terms of helping conservation efforts. Based on what he is written, my choice is to kill everything or quit fishing. That is not gonna happen. I will continue to release every billfish I catch, I will keep renewing my membership to the Billfish Foundation, and I will preach the benefits of conservation (C & R) and the evils of longlining every chance I get.


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Old 04-11-2006, 10:48 AM
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Default RE: Conservation thoughts and questions

We've gotten a bit off topic now. I'm talking about eating--food--survival of people. We have to eat something or we die and we can't eat beef and chicken everyday. Fishing for sport is a different subject and a completely different argument.

Commercial fishermen do not fish for sport. Likewise, meat fishermen, such as me, fish for fun, but primarily to get that prized (read: tasty) fish in the boat. In fact, though I fish for swords, I hate the fact that such fishing requires a light drag setting and a long fight. Some call it sport, I just don't see it that way. I want that fish in the boat.

Example: Most fishermen AND the regulations laud or encourage catching and killing the larger swords and releasing the pups. While I do not care to keep swords under the present legal size, I find it very appropriate to keep and eat swords from 50-60 inches. At one to two years of age, they likely have minimal levels of toxins, they are tastier and are not breeders. I'd prefer NOT to catch a sword over 200 pounds, and if I caught a 500+ pounder, I'd release it.
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:02 AM
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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC; http://www.asmfc.org/) Striped Bass Technical Committee estimated that 1.3 million striped bass were lost due to recreational hook and line release mortality in 2000, more than the number landed by the commercial fishery that year.

Methinks that rec fisherman are part of the problem too. Everyone is part of the problems we face...... In regards to your initial question, that is a good question. Perhaps they think that clearing out the older stock is better then the younger stock who should have many more years of reproduction ahead of them?
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:08 AM
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Old 04-11-2006, 05:43 PM
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BigBone, to answer your original question- you are exactly right. The best way to increase stock levels is to allow the spawners to spawn. Fish keep growing till they die if they get enough food, and bigger fish produce more eggs and sperm. Releasing the big fish will result in more little fish.

Sometimes (in fresh water fisheries) fish get overpopulated and its necessary to eliminate lots of small fish to restore balance to the fishery.

Here in North Carolina we have slot limits for stripers in the rivers and red drum. You can only keep fish between 18 and 22 inches (I think thats the size). This is the wildlife agency’s way of allowing some fish to be kept while protecting the spawners.

Baileyboat, toxicity isn’t heritable. The genes of the progeny are exactly the same as the parents (half each from the mother and father) plus or minus the normal mutations that occur during cell division (about 1 out of 100,000 ).

Youngersghost, no one who participates in the pop-up tag programs would suggest any of their data indicates anything about C&R mortality (at least the programs I’ve read about). The tags are only placed in fish that are in the best shape. Fish that seem tired or injured from being caught are not used because the tags are so expensive and the scientists are trying to get data on movement and habitat use. Some studies have been conducted to determine mortality, and it varies widely by specie, tackle, and even time of year.

Sport fishermen are only one user group. Commercial fishermen are another. Now in some areas, scuba divers are halting sport fishing so they can look at fish. Fisheries managers have to try and please both groups (or at least pissoff each one equally).

And all this before we even start to talk about politics and loss of habitat.
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:59 PM
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chip - 4/11/2006 5:43 PM

And all this before we even start to talk about politics and loss of habitat.
chip.
now THAT is what I want to wade into!
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