Conservation: its time to stop blaming the commercial guys

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lespresso
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:07 am

i discuss this topic with others from time to time and invariably the conversation is torpedoed quite quickly with the statement; "yeah, but its the commercial guys that are the problem". end of conversation.

the first few hundred times i heard this statement, say over 30 years ago when i was about 14 years old i thought, yes, those nasty commercial guys, thats the problem, nothing i can do will alter the inevitable outcome

fast forward to today, having pondered it many times and i think that response even if true is an abdication of responsibility

you don't need to be a maths whizz to work out that the impact of recreational fishing is significant - it is the taking of one dollar from one million people scenario; not much from each person, but the sum is significant

even if we accept that the commercial impact is the primary issue, i no longer accept that as an excuse for not taking any action

i am convinced that the decisions you make the next time you lower a line on your kayak will have a meaningful impact on the future of your fishery, even though you are merely an individual

to illustrate: in the last 2 months, i have returned over 100 snapper that have been in excess of the 30cm legal limit, but less than 40cm, which is my self imposed minimum length. as a result i often only take home one or two fish, but i think its a price worth paying

i don't have any knowledge of marine biology but someone on this forum will be able to provide an estimate of how many fish will spawn from those 100 fish that have been returned over the expected average life span of the fish; it the combination will be a big number, certainly big enough to make a difference

additionally, since moving to softbait i don't think i have ever gut hooked a snapper, so the survival rates should be reasonably high

the point of me making this post is not to tell you what a great guy i am, but to encourage you to set your own conservation rules in excess of the legal limits - they could be anything, depending on your region, how often you fish, how good you are at fishing, etc, etc. my point is simply that your efforts will make a difference

the second point is that if we each impose some kind of conservation limits on ourselves, over time it will change social norms in terms of what is accepted behaviour, just have we have seen with smoking drink driving and other social issues over the last 30 years or so

things have to change or there will be nothing left. your live/kill decisions will make a difference
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BFIST
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:38 am

And too add to that the best practice for releasing fish. No point releasing, if you are sending them to their doom. But that's not such an issue for us kayakers who generally fish in shallow water.

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AndrewRawlingson
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:29 am

BFIST wrote:And too add to that the best practice for releasing fish. No point releasing, if you are sending them to their doom. But that's not such an issue for us kayakers who generally fish in shallow water.


+1. Unfortunately, I really enjoy fishing in deeper water from kayaks, jet skis and boats. I doubt few snapper taken in 40 metres plus survive regardless of fish handling skills.

If you have to stick hypodermic needles in a fish, it's probably game over anyway. What seems to be missed is that while you may be decompressing a gas collection in the swim bladder, needling does nothing to reverse the effect of barotrauma.

Personally, I deal with this by stopping fishing when I have enough "meat" or fishing for something else.

Big Manly Yaka
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:26 pm

Lespresso of those 100 fish between 30 and 40 cm there will be a percentage that will die or have a shorter lifespan anyway despite your careful handling. So if you are really concerned, keep anything over 30, then when you reach your limit stop fishing.

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Cowboy
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:39 pm

Big Manly Yaka wrote:Lespresso of those 100 fish between 30 and 40 cm there will be a percentage that will die or have a shorter lifespan anyway despite your careful handling. So if you are really concerned, keep anything over 30, then when you reach your limit stop fishing.
Agree with this 100%.
It is great to constantly look at better ways to do things and to hold ourselves to a higher standard but this will have no effect on the commercial guys. The majority are motivated by money and like all industries will only do the right thing when forced to.
Self compliance is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

MadMike
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:45 pm

I challenge the guys that argue putting the big ones back will just result in the commercials catching that fish tomorrow. In most case those big fish are 20-40 years old, You caught that fish today but up until that point it survived he 20-40 years till you caught it, it kind of invalidates that particular argument.

Each to there own on slef regulating, I fish because I like to, I also fish to feed my boys and family. Self regulation is fine and I do it myself only keeping fish 4-15lb (rarely on the bigger ones)

As far as mortality rates go, I have caught the same 22lb fish 3 times in 2 years from the same spot (give away markings) and it has survived each and every time. some chance is better than now chance at all if you release them and there in good condition.
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nzimp
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:10 pm

Agree with the keep what you catch until you get what you need. Just eat the whole thing and don't throw away the real good bits like we tend to do. Or find someone to take your heads and frames if you only like the fillets. Heaps of guys appreciate a smoked frame or head if they cant get out themselves.

Conservation really is just moderation.

Commercial guys still need to take a long hard look at themselves. Not necessarily blaming the crews and boats that go out trying to earn a living. As with most things it is the corporates that lobby for more quota and questionable fishing methods.
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Ruff as Gutts
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:18 pm

Awesome topic! Love reading the multiple views without personal attacks! Thumbs up guys :y: :y: :y: . I also follow another forum that had a similar thread and :swear: got outta hand :(

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piwikiwi
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:02 pm

Yeah I personally fish for food and fun but if its legal I keep it and stop once Ive got enough.
6 in my family and we love eating fish.

lespresso
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:34 pm

I seem to recall reading research data that suggests survival rates in excess of 80% for released snapper, assuming not bleeding from gills, or blown raising from the depths
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Fishless
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:59 pm

Would also mute the point they have in the states about a maximum landing size, as let's face it, it's the bigger fish that are the breeding stock, so as others say keeping anything legal and stop when the limits reached.

Maybe you won't throw back that snapper just coming into breeding, but then you won't take the 30 year old stud muffin either.
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TwoSpoons
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:03 pm

I think the beef with commercials is more about some of the methods used, which result in a high kill rate of undersize fish.
Personally, i'll take fish over 33-34cm, and stop fishing when I have 4 or 5, because thats all i need.
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crabman
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:44 pm

Would be interested to know what the difference is in the number of fish that are breed from say a 20lbr snapper vs. a 4 or 5lb snapper??
I'm guessing that unlike humans and a lot of other animals that the rate they breed at isn't affected by old age vs. Horny teenagers.
Does anyone know of any research carried out to determine the difference from these Breeding fish vs. young just coming in to Spawn fish, egg numbers etc.???
Personally I would like to see these numbers before making up my mind and telling others what I have simply been told. ( yes I do release a lot of my bigger fish)

A quick search and read and this little snippet came up from an article.

Now comes the tricky bit. There are fewer large snapper around than there are school fish at this time, and the bulk of the spawning activity comes from these school fish. These are the fish (due to their large numbers) that provide the biggest contribution to the procreation of the species. They – again due to their large number – are the most frequently caught. Is this yet another counter-balance? :geek:
Last edited by crabman on Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fishless
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:13 pm

Tricky response, having looked for actual scientific papers (not many around) the info isn't really available, would be a good study to complete.

On one hand some say higher genetic potential of larger fish.

Others point to the fact snapper are shoal breeders (hence easier to net) as they congregate and release as a shoal. (Point being larger fish don't tend to shoal in large numbers).

I do slot of research work for some fisheries, I will ask around and come back to this as it's actually an interesting point.

I fish to get a feed so the 40cm's is a good number to keep, as perfect for the pan.
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crabman
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:22 pm

Cheers Fishless :y:
I think this information is really needed before we can be expected to recommend to each other that the big fish should be released "because they are the breeding stock".
I have always thought that all snapper are breeding snapper from around 3-5 lb. There are a lot more around from that size and only a small percentage of larger <15lb+ fish around.
So in my thinking what we are being told is that we are doomed if we take the big fish because they are only ones that succeed in breeding?

Casualtyward
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:05 pm

When I was studying at Uni the commonly held belief was that larger fish have exponentially more eggs e.g. One 10lb fish has far more eggs that ten 1lb fish. Larger fish also tend to have larger eggs, larger eggs equals greater survivability for larvae and juveniles.

I've read a bit on some websites like this one about older fish being poorer quality breeders as they approach senescence. I haven't seen enough info on that to pass judgement (though there's probably a reason trial kingfish farms use 30-40kg models as broodstock).

Lastly, I seem to remember the reason they moved from 25cm MLS to 27cm MLS was that snapper breed around this length, so most should have bred at least once before they are taken.
Last edited by Casualtyward on Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fishless
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:13 pm

Snapper start to mature around the 4year mark, this equate's to the 30cm legal size (protect the non breeding stock).
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Kerry
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:31 pm

Fishless wrote:
Others point to the fact snapper are shoal breeders (hence easier to net) as they congregate and release as a shoal. (Point being larger fish don't tend to shoal in large numbers).
The larger fish do shoal up in big numbers in breeding season - just look at what gets caught up here around november and december. As an example a few of my mates set the torpedo off a beach here in November last year and got 23 fish from 25 hooks, 7 of those fish were over 15lb and the rest were still very nice fish. This was an exceptional catch but every year there are plenty of stories that circulate around that time of similar results...
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Rockcod Brother
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:59 pm

I came across a article on facebook today on the ' It's catching on' page discussing this very topic. It's well worth the read
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crabman
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:00 pm

Yeah we have a few spots here in the Naki which are loaded with big Snaps during Spawning also.
I'm just wondering where the facts come from that we are acting on really so I can make an informed choice and be able to explain to someone who I'm trying to tell that maybe they should consider releasing a big fish.
I'm pretty sure that if someone asked me to release a big fish and I asked why they wouldn't really know the reason apart from they have been told they should.

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