Losing Nemo By Joey Tantillo

Americans like to spend, save, and make money. Not as many Americans like to fish. But if Americans payed more attention to fishing laws it would lower the prices on fish which would save everyone money. Americans have many problems with abiding by fishing laws in the U.S. I'm a big fisherman and I constantly see people fishing without a license and keeping more fish than they should. I see people dumping plastic and excess fishing line and cutting off lures leaving them in the water where a fish can get hooked by it and die. And it's not only recreational fisherman causing a problem. Commercial fisherman with trolling nets first of all catch too many fish but they also catch fish of other species and kill them to market them as things they are not. Sometimes companies will just put the other fish in the same can with albacore tuna. This practice kills many endangered species and causes species to be put on the endangered list. Recent years have showed some improvement in fish populations but not enough. Organizations like the DEC have to strengthen fishing regulations and monitor the fish taken from their waters more closely. This will save money and allow fish populations to grow and prosper to the point where we can start to relax the regulations to where they are right now.

By catch is one of the number one causes of fish species being endangered in the USA. By catch is when fish of different species are caught and killed when targeting a certain other species. In some states you are still allowed to use long lines and trolling nets which stretch for miles killing fish in huge numbers of many different Species. In Canada there was a study conducted by researchers on the show “Save the Ocean” about the by catch of swordfish longlines. The evidence they found was that on average, for every swordfish caught by a long line at least two sharks are killed in the process. So not only are they catching too many swordfish but they are also killing many other animals in the process for every swordfish harpooned only one swordfish is killed. Canada has reopened swordfish fisheries and encourage any swordfish harpooners to commercially bring in a catch. It is the safest way to bring in a catch and it doesn't affect the environment at all. Some people would say “What is so good about it? You are still killing these swordfish.” Well yes you are still killing the swordfish but these people are not killing as many fish as the commercial boats do and are not endangering any other fish in the environment either.

Now these fish aren't just going to come back overnight, but it won't take long if we take the right steps towards bringing fish populations back to numbers where they were in the 1960’s. The first thing the government and state wildlife organizations should do is to completely outlaw long lines and Trolling nets. This will almost completely get rid of an bycatch that would ever happen. The second step would be to pay more attention to how many fish are kept by commercial fishing boats and party boats. This will help start the reduction of how many fish are taken out of the water per year. The final step is to put slot regulations on all species of fish except for invasive species. A slot regulation is where you put a range of size fish that you righter can or cannot catch. If we don't allow people to keep lots of fish that are capable of breeding, this will help to allow fish to have time to breed and grow in numbers back to a point they will be sustainable enough to harvest more. This should only last 2-3 years so numbers will be sustainable enough to fish, then we can relax the regulations until numbers drop to a low point. When this happens we shall put the slot regulations back on. This will allow us to keep more fish for greater periods of time because the population will be greater allowing for more breeding to take place.

These fisheries can be sustainable. We just have to follow three steps. Realize the problem, set the regulations, and follow the regulations and the fisheries will be sustainable.

Created By
Joey Tantillo

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