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Stark realities…

I have long been a fan of the Horizon science documentaries on the BBC, and a recent one entitled ‘ Death of the Oceans’ focused on the efforts to census the planets Oceans, something never before done on the current scale. A fascinating insight and superbly put together programme, but as you can guess by the titles a very worrying, no…, frightening message about the future of not only our fisheries but of the Oceans eco systems as a whole. I have never wanted to use my Blog as a political soap box but I have to vent My feelings somewhere but if a few readers follow My lead then maybe I will have done some good by writing this piece.
The programme covered the various aspects of how we, Humans, are fundamentally damaging and altering the Heart and Lungs of our planet, which is what the Oceans are. Commercial fishing, and our output of Co2 emmissions into the atmosphere being the main focus. Commercial fishing’s affect on the fish stocks and the Co2 acidifying the waters thus destroying the Coral reefs and habitats that generate the very beginnings of the food chains that sustain all life in the Seas. According to current studies, if we do not begin to manage our fisheries, in just a short 40 years there will be nothing left to fish for Globally. It almost makes me want to weep.
There are many other ways that we are having a destructive impact on the creatures of the Oceans and you really should watch the programme if you care in the slightest about the future of our beautiful but ruined planet. ( Available on the iplayer ).
So what can we do as Anglers? Recreational fishing takes it’s toll along with commercial catches, which makes us as accountable, and the more we needlessly take, ( or waste as I see it ), the more of an impact we are having. There are many needless and wasteful and selfish practices going on in sea Angling, and still not enough Anglers practicing catch and release, preffering to keep all and any fish, wether for money, glory or ‘just for the cat’.
I have stood on the shore and watched boat after boat hammer a shoal of Bass and not seen one fish returned, and it’s made me want to sink to my knees and scream at them “what the Hell are you doing you morons???” can they not see and understand that every one they take is worth hundreds if not thousands less of the species in the future? Every fish is capable of spawning several hundred offspring, but not if they are not allowed to. If these practices continue year on year where are the next genrations coming from? I suppose it doesn’t concern them, as long as they get their money, or fame or whatever,  it’s irrelevant, and besides it’s not as bad as every one makes out…….is it? Watch the programme and tell me what you think.
Simple practices such as crushing the barbs on hooks will make a huge difference to the ” oh it had swallowed the hook so I had to take it anyway” scenario. Barbless or crushed barb hooks don’t lose fish, and if the fish has been deep hooked, often  the situation can be salvaged, certainly more than if the hook was barbed at any rate. 
It’s the little things that make the difference, but as Anglers collectively we have a huge voice, if we all begin altering our practices and leading by example then the powers that be cannot help but sit up and take notice. If we remain complacent then we can eventually give ourselves a pat on the back when the Oceans are finally empty, and say what a good job we did in our apathy. Remember this WILL happen in our lifetme and what then ? Perhaps we will start to consume our Coarse fish stocks then…”I’ll have Carp and chips please mate”!

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