Best Release Practices fromReleaSense.org

“Fish today with tomorrow in mind”

We all have the responsibility to use best practices when handling fish so that future generations will be able to enjoy what each of us has had the privilege of experiencing in our lifetimes.

The Coastal Conservation Association is a founding partner of ReleaSense.org.  The ReleaSense.org website provides a list of best release practices which are supported by scientific research. The website covers the “Best Release Practices” outlined below, providing in depth descriptions, educational videos and the scientific journal articles supporting these practices. 

Best release practices

Wet your hands prior to touching the fish

Minimize fight time when possible

Remove hooks gently with pliers

Use circle hooks when possible

Handle fish with lipping tool

 

Deep-water fish

Barotrauma

Fish descending devices

 

Inshore fish

Use of short leaders and fixed weights

Tournament angling

Avoid Scheduling during the hottest months

Sharks

Use circle hooks 

Reduce deep hooking events

Pelagic fish

Use circle hooks whenever possible

 

Billfish

Use conventional circle hooks when targeting billfish

Limit drop-back time

Land fish quickly

Never remove fish from the water

Bycatch species

Treatment of fish species other than the one targeted

The IWFA encourages you to read more.  Copy and paste https://www.releasense.org/best-release-practices/ for more details.


 

The River of Grass: Water flow to the Everglades

 

Years ago, prior to the development of South Florida, pristine water flowed naturally from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades all the way to Florida Bay and to the west coast. As settlers arrived and development in South Florida grew, the flow of water to the Everglades was interrupted by the placement of a dike around Lake Okeechobee. Over time the lake itself became a depository of polluted water produced by many sources including cattle ranches to the north and sugar cane fields to the south. Today Lake Okeechobee’s phosphate levels are so high that water from the lake cannot be allowed to flow south to the Everglades in its current state. When overflow discharges occur, water is shunted through the St. Lucie waterway to the east and the Caloosahatchee to the west and has produced large toxic algae blooms that have fouled both east and west coasts of Florida. The resolution to these problems has been long in coming, highly controversial and has yet to be implemented. 

For those living or fishing in Florida you might want to investigate the following organizations and initiatives. Each is concerned with clean water flow to the Florida Everglades. To read their stories and see how you can help, check out their websites below. 

Captains for Clean Water

“Captains For Clean Water is on a mission to restore and protect aquatic ecosystems for the use and enjoyment of all. Through education and advocacy, they fight to ensure that policymakers implement science-based solutions to our water quality issues.” https://captainsforcleanwater.org.

Vote Water

“VoteWater.org, formerly Bullsugar.org, is a grassroots organization founded by Stuart residents in August 2014 on the belief that stopping the damaging discharges to our coasts and restoring the Everglades is not a science or engineering problem. The science has been known for decades. Our problem is a political problem - and it requires a political solution. Their focus: Dedicated to stopping the damaging discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and restoring the flow of clean freshwater to Florida Bay.” https://votewater.org

Friends of the Everglades

“Friends of the Everglades was founded in 1969 by renowned journalist, author, and environmental activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving America’s Everglades and its interconnected ecosystems. The mission of the Friends of the Everglades is to preserve, protect and restore the only Everglades in the world.” https://www.everglades.org

This past Wednesday the Florida State Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 2508 which many entities believe will negatively affect the Everglades. The bill will be brought to the full senate on February 17th . You can learn more, and if interested, explore how you can help by visiting the websites listed in this report. Each has a link to an article, video or discussion about the bill.  

Update: Coastal Conservation Association (CCA FLORIDA) recently added a statement to their website concerning issues with Senate Bill 2508 in its present composition. For more details see their website notification at https://ccaflorida.org/senate-bill-2508/