Because of space and other limitations, we have presented the seed of an idea that hopefully will begin to grow. It is up to the sportfishing community to decide whether the International Congress of Sportfishing has the potential we think it has. Maybe it is time for several fishing clubs or associations to meet and discuss the merits of this concept. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) might be a logical organization to take the lead. Maybe one or more individuals could take the initiative. Gardner Grant, Steve Sloan, Francis Pandolfi, Bill Cullerton, Sr., Nathaniel Reed, Curtis Bostick, or Perry Richardson Bass are some of the people who have the experience and savvy and could spark and ignite this idea into a potent fishing organization that could, in effect, help save fishing. Years ago, this project would have required a tremendous amount of money to launch it; this is not so today. There are creative minds out there who would know how to get it done for a fraction of what it would have cost, say, ten years ago, thanks to the Internet/WEB.
One of our main problems is that the sportfishing community is fragmented. We do not have a common voice. There is Trout Unlimited, Fly Fishing Federation, B.A.S.S., IGFA, The Billfish Foundation, Muskies Inc., Atlantic Salmon Association, American Museum of Fly Fishing, The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, American Sportfishing Association, Izaak Walton, and hundreds more! Each, on its own, tries hard to solve its problems but, except for B.A.S.S., none has the numbers that would impress the politicians, governments, etc.
We desperately need an umbrella organization, composed of the above groups, associations, and other segments of the fishing world.
Catch-and-release is not only becoming popular in angling circles in U.S., it’s becoming an important fishing philosophy in many countries. Catch-and-release lets anglers enjoy their sport but not diminish the resource.
But PETA, PISCES and other anti-fishing organizations claim this approach is still cruel and that the fish suffers tremendous traumatic and physical effects.
Here’s their propaganda: “It is easy to see that angling causes suffering to fish regardless of whether or not the fish is returned. Traumatized and injured fish returned to the water can either die from injuries, or from stress of being caught. Further, fish take time to recover from being caught and during that time are extremely vulnerable to attack and damage from the physical environment…”