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Message from LegaSea

Message from LegaSea

Here’s a trick question – using a rag, wet or dry is good for releasing fish. True or false? To find out the correct answer, read this important message from LegaSea. LegaSea is an organisation that Westhaven Marina greatly respects. Working hard to ensure that there really are plenty of fish in the sea, they are great at educating and informing those fishing, about how to protect our fish stocks for the future.

Summer is almost here and many of us can’t wait to go and enjoy the natural riches of our coastline. Catching or diving for some dinner will be part of what we love to do whilst out on the water. The revelations of the extensive damage done to our fishery by commercial fishers catching, killing and dumping tonnes of fish will no doubt concern us when we find it difficult to put a fish on the table. LegaSea has been in the thick of the media trying to help untangle and highlight the underlying issues that threaten our inshore fish stocks.

Wastage on a commercial scale is a serious concern however, as recreational fishers, we can also do our part to reduce unnecessary mortality.  

What am I talking about? Practices that are likely to cause fish to die from capture, but are then released back to the sea. It may not be ‘dumping’ but if the fish dies, it’s still a waste.

It is very clear that catching, handling and returning unwanted fish to the sea poses a risk to their survival. There are basic techniques we can all use to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Lesson number one is simple – don’t catch undersized fish in the first place. By using lures that are difficult for undersized fish to be caught on, or large hooks when bait fishing (7/0 or larger), the chances of hooking fish that are required to be returned are reduced. Shifting locations if you find yourself fishing in the nursery is also a good move.

Here’s a trick question – using a rag, wet or dry is good for releasing fish. True or false? Actually false. Any fabric (cloth material or sponge for example) wet or dry will remove the protective layer of mucus from the fish and increase it’s chances of death due to infection. When it comes to handling fish, it is best to not handle them at all.  How does one not handle a fish they are supposed to release?

Well, the trick here is to file down the barb on your hook so that a fisherman can grip the hook (preferably with a pair of pliers) and slip the hook out while the fish is still in the water.

If you happen to catch a trophy and want a quick photo to prove you’re not a liar, then holding the fish carefully with wet hands supporting the belly is the best technique, and please don’t put your fingers in the fish’s gills.   

These are some of the more effective ways to help reduce your impact on our on fishery. Everyone can contribute to the conservation of our fisheries and it is pleasing to note that wherever LegaSea goes and talks to recreational fishers, for the most part they are willing to change how they fish if it means more fish in the water for tomorrow. Grasping the importance of an abundant fishery sinks home for many fishers who want to see future generations enjoy the same riches that give us so much pleasure.

Photo credits: Digital Fish