The World Wide Fund for Nature, with the South African Shark Conservancy, the Oceanographic Research Institute, the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and Rhodes University have collaborated in publishing a guide for responsible recreational fishing. David Ritchie African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – While the number of recreational fishers has increased substantially over the past century, catch rates have steadily decreased.

As a result, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WFF), with the South African Shark Conservancy, the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI), the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) and Rhodes University have collaborated in publishing a guide for responsible recreational fishing.

WWF South Africa’s Junaid Francis said the guide was aimed at helping reverse the trend of decreasing catch rates.

“Recreational angling is fun and often passed down through the generations, but for us and our children’s children to continue to enjoy this pastime, we need to learn and teach the basics to ensure that recreational fishing is sustainable.”

The guide was released in time with the summer break when many recreational anglers head to the coast for their holidays.

“Anglers have a critical role to play in reversing a decline in fish stocks. This guide presents the qualities and principles every responsible angler should strive for.”

The guide covers a wide range of topics, from catch limits and permits to humane catch-and-release methods and how anglers can contribute to the collective knowledge as citizen scientists by recording and sharing their catch information.

The guide said that the golden rule for anglers was an acrostic poem using the word angler which called on fishers to adhere to regulations, negating harm to fish, gathering information on marine resources, leaving the area in a better state, encouraging best practice and being a role model to others.

“A responsible angler always has a valid recreational angling permit; adheres to regulations; uses legal roads and tracks when accessing fishing areas; and reports illegal activities such as environmental damage and pollution,” the guide said.

To download a copy of The Responsible Angler: guidelines for responsible recreational fishing in South Africa visit http://fishforlife.co.za/article/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-responsible-angler