Worldwide, habitat loss and degradation are among the top causes of declines in fish populations. For many recreational fisheries that are mostly or entirely catch and release, habitat loss is the top threat. Yet recreational anglers and angler organizations that focus on habitat conservation and restoration for marine fishes are rare indeed. Consider healthy habitats the factory assembly line with our recreational fisheries as its product. And consider protecting and restoring that assembly line an investment in our fisheries.
Healthy Habitats=Healthy Fisheries. It's that simple. The best fisheries management plan or fish stocking programs won't amount to much if the fish don't have healthy habitats to provide them food and shelter from predators. All things considered, the amount of available habitat will place a maximum on a fish species' population size. This is because their population size is limited, or at least severely influenced, by the benefits of habitat - namely a supply of prey to eat so the fish can grow, and as a source of shelter from predators. The more you learn about what your favorite gamefish requires to survive, the more interested you'll become in being a steward of those resources.
Many saltwater recreational fisheries are in crisis or heading quickly in that direction. Even fisheries that look in good shape might have trouble brewing behind the scenes. It used to be that we could go fishing, have fun, go home, and not think about it until the next trip. That is no longer true. Recreational anglers must become involved in conservation to ensure a good outlook for the future of our fisheries. Recreational anglers are the primary users of coastal habitats, and also major beneficiaries. Consider your involvement an investment in the future of the fisheries.
Tribal Bonefish Gear: show your conservation credentials