The Next Big Thing To Impact Saltwater Fishing……Conservation!
Recently I was talking to Captain Tanya Dowdy of Charleston, SC. We had just finished her story on “Dock Fishing For Winter Reds” on the Saltwater Angler website. Tanya is a groundbreaking fishing guide that seems to be well ahead of the curve when it comes to inshore fishing and all the factors that surround it. Those of you that know her, know she’s not only quite a talented angler but she’s a true professional in the Charleston fishing community, having done many fishing and boating seminars. Her “Reel Chica Charters” reflects both her knowledge and professionalism.
After our interview, the conversation changed to a different topic. I asked Tanya what she considered to be the biggest changes to expect in the future of saltwater fishing. Her reply was both interesting and well thought out, as I expected. It wasn’t about the next generation of lures or boats, instead, it was about how to face the need for fishing conservation.
Tanya commented that there are a number of factors that need to be addressed, both to protect and revitalize our saltwater fishing resource. One of the biggest is the increase in fishing all along the Atlantic coast as well as our coastal areas. This is due to a result of the population shift in recent years. That shift reflects not only a higher population but more pressure on the fishing resource. Tanya also said that anglers need to become better stewards of the fishery we both enjoy and depend on for recreation, income, and as a food source. If the recreational angler voluntarily assumes the responsibility of practicing conservation it will serve as a great starting point and a positive message to all those that fish our waters.
In that conversation, she agreed that the fault of the problem is no one group. It’s a combination of many entities that need to share in the solution. Tanya was quick to say that the first place to start is a great awareness because many anglers are unaware of the negative trend and its potential future impact. It’s this group that improving their awareness will come the easiest and may be the best place to start. It should also involve those that are the biggest users of the resource, such as commercial fishermen, fishing guides, and charter captains. With a combined effort and the help of the fishing regulator community, this future problem can be greatly reduced and even cured.