Fishing cited as crucial to the environment

An environmental scientist in the UK has verified what many fishos have known all along – they play an important role in protecting and conserving our waterways.

In his article “Fishing and the environment: why the two are inextricably linked” posted on environmental website, Robert MacDougall-Davis says anglers “are the greatest protectors of the aquatic environment”.

Macdougall-Davis, also an angling writer, photographer and fly fisherman, says he has “an unwavering passion for wildlife and angling and spends most of his free time on the water.”

In the article which highlights the strong link between fishing and the environment MacDougall-Davis says, “You cannot enjoy good fishing without taking great care of the environment in which you fish. Angling and the environment are inextricably linked and a flourishing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem is synonymous with good fishing.”

“The majority of anglers not only love and respect the environment in which they fish, but also go to great lengths to protect and conserve the health of the aquatic ecosystem as a whole.”

He goes on to say. “The need for environmental protection has never been so great. Our freshwater and marine environments are fragile and impacted upon by a raft of human activities. Our rivers, lakes and streams are under constant threat from agricultural run-off and diffuse pollution, invasive species, siltation, point discharges from sewage treatment works and industrial activity, water extraction, forestry activity and much more.

The article highlights how anglers can play a specific and important role in helping the environment citing an example of fly fishermen in England who first discovered a threat to a river’s ecosytem. “Only this September two fly fisherman in Cambridgeshire noticed, for the first time in Britain, the presence of a highly invasive and ecologically damaging killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) darting through the shallows of Grafham Water reservoir. The scientific community and the relevant authorities were alerted and rapid steps are now being taken by anglers, scientist and other parties to contain this problematic crustacean before it spreads far and wide.”

MacDougall-Davis concludes, “Much of the fisheries research in Britain is stimulated by concerned anglers and fisheries scientists who seek to find answers to key environmental questions.”

In Fisho’s view the latter statement could also be applied to a large proportion of Australia’s recreational anglers – something green groups in this country unfortunately seem loathe to recognise.   

Robert MacDougall-Davis’s complete article can be read here.

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