47.1 BILLION FISH CAUGHT ANNUALLY
160 year wild salmon decline
Each year more than 47 billion fish are caught recreationally with many of those caught subsequently released due to size, species, conservation status or the angler's personal preferences. That's where The Fish Need Water Alliance comes in. Whether you side with Lee Wulff ("Game fish are too valuable to only be caught once"), believe that fish have more value in the water than on the table, or swoon at the thought of a fresh Springer steak, responsible fishing techniques are an effective way to keep sportfishing strong. It's hard to complain about more salmon in our Northwest streams or more bonefish cruising the Gulf flats.
The effects of being caught vary from species to species, fish to fish. Some species are more resilient to changes in environment and human handling, while others are easily impacted. The same can be said about individual fish of the same species. The best way to keep fish fighting? Treat all fish intended for release with care and respect.
Giving each released fish a chance to spawn (and grow) benefits every person with a line in the water or a fork in a fillet.
Case study: Oregon & washington's chinook sportfisheries, 2012-14
102,000 chinook lost per year
OREGON AND WASHINGTON'S CHINOOK sportFISHERIES AVERAGED NEARLY 235,000 RELEASED FISH PER YEAR BETWEEN 2012 AND 2014. each year, MORE THAN 102,000 chinook DIED FROM INCIDENTAL CAUSES* after being caught (avg.). responsible HANDLING PRACTICES COULD SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF FISH incidentally lost.
2012-2014 Oregon/washington Chinook sport catch, annual avg.
*Incidental causes include the effects of being caught. Figure also includes "drop off" mortality, or mortality due to post-catch predation and other causes assumed to be related to the angling event.