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November 05, 2012

First Best-Practices Fishing Workshop Focuses on Catch and Release

Georgia Event Kicks off Series of Sanctuary-Based Programs for Idea Exchange

Anglers are invited to attend the first-ever Best Practices Recreational Fishing Workshop on Saturday, Nov. 10, in Richmond Hill, Georgia, to discuss improving fish-survival rates from catch-and-release angling. The event, hosted by Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sportfishing Conservancy runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Richmond Hill City Center just south of Savannah. The workshop is free and lunch is included.

The hosts encourage offshore and inshore fishermen to attend and provide a variety of perspectives on species from estuaries, reef systems and the open ocean. The speakers include George Sedberry, Grays’ Reef sanctuary superintendent; Gretchen Bath-Martin, EDF senior conservation manager; Chris Lowe, a fisheries biologist from California State University, Long Beach; George Geiger, past president of the Coastal Conservation Association Florida and active fishing guide; Michael Denmark, executive director of the Coastal Conservation Association of Georgia; and Russ Dunn, NOAA Fisheries national policy advisor for recreational fisheries. 

Presentations will focus on relevant issues such as barotrauma and release mortality, though anglers and guides will be asked to share ideas and methods. “We want this to be an exchange of ideas and information, because we believe that anglers, scientists and fisheries managers can work together to bring about positive change,” says Sportfishing Conservancy President Tom Raftican. “It’s in everybody’s best interest to increase the survival rate of fish we release.”

Organizers hope to hold similar events in 2013 near national marine sanctuaries around the country, each designed around regional experts, angler groups and specific fish-survival issues.  For more information, call the Sportfishing Conservancy at 805-895-3000 or visit sportfishingconservancy.org.