Are We Our Own Worst Enemies?

When you begin to talk about fish limits and legislation emotions tend to run high and recreational anglers never seem to be able to agree on what is right for limits and proper conservation to assure the fish population will be there for future generations of anglers. While it is encouraging seeing so many anglers concerned and speaking out about what they feel is proper stewardship of our resources, it is also equally disconcerting to see these same anglers tear a fellow recreational fisherman down for what they see as acting irresponsible. Many times a personal note to an angler to help educate them about a certain species is bypassed for an ugly comment or insult.

 Many years ago, back when swordfish populations were is really bad shape, I had a friend tell me that swords were one of his favorite fish to eat. He liked them so much, not only did he eat them out at restaurants (when he could find it on the menu), but he also had started buying it at the grocery (again, when he could find it) and fixing it at home.

I happened to know him pretty well and knew that he was a person the loved and respected nature, but was just not really knowledgeable about fishing. I talked to him a little bit about the stocks of swordfish and how they were in decline and in really bad shape. His face immediately dropped and he said if he had only known, he would not have been eating it. If I had laid into him and called him ignorant, or worse, I don’t think my message would have had the same impact, he probably would not have really listened to me, but come away angry.

  The old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey and while I am not saying there’s not a time for blasting an individual, I just think is we thought more about how we approach these types of situations and set our emotions aside, we may actually be more effective, our point may be more clearly understood and the person may actually perceive value in what we are trying to tell them.  I see efforts by individuals to release more fish on a