Nature Watching

November 15, 2011

Tarpon season may be in the rear-view mirror, but here’s a little something to keep you drueling during the cooler months ahead. Bonefish and Tarpon Trust’s Aaron Adams was motoring around south Florida one fall morning when he ran into this….


No, Aaron didn’t tell me where his secret spot was, but he mentioned that, “it’s a good spot on a dropping tide in the fall for tarpon and snook.” Aaron saw the commotion, beached the boat, then set the camera on the rocks and let it roll.

Pretty cool footage. Sometimes it’s fun just to watch and be amazed.


Speaking of Aaron, I missed him at the 4th Annual BTT Symposium this past weekend, but caught up with him a month ago at the inaugural marine media summit of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. This was an interesting meeting, attracting many key executives among recreational fishing organizations, including BTT, ASA, IGFA, NOAA, FWC and Mote Marine Laboratory.

Here were a couple key takeaways. First, recreational fishing remains a huge economic sector that still goes underreported and underappreciated. For example, did you know that sport fishing accounts for $125 billion in economic impact in the U.S., according to research firm Southwick Associates. That’s more than universities, colleges and tech schools combined ($121 billion) and the motion picture and video industries ($81 billion). Yet, recreational fishing still remains largely in the shadows of the powerful commercial fishing sector.

To a degree, that’s the reason some folks are increasingly open to the idea of more dialogue and cooperation with various environmental organizations. I’ve been getting that sense recently, and the topic was brought up a couple times during the TRCP meetings. The idea is that, combined, these constituencies of outdoor users (ie – anglers and nature watchers) will have a greater influence regarding legislation to protect what we all share in common — our fisheries and natural habitats.


Of course, this is a touchy subject these days, given that some environmental groups have shown at times to have little regard for anglers and fishing in general.

But if genuine trust can be established among the various groups — and firm commitments made not to infringe on the rights of each constituency (for instance, anglers’ rights to fish) — the idea of broadening the reach of recreational fishing to include other forms of outdoor recreation makes some sense.

Can it happen? Who knows. But it’s something to chew on.


Good fishing to you,

Mike Mazur
Senior editor, Sport Fishing magazine


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