One day last fall, I was walking the beach and saw a tangle of monofilament fishing line washed up on shore.
There were a bunch of gulls and terns walking around it and I figured they’d get caught in it and it’d create a mess. I stopped and grabbed it and started pulling. From the looks of it someone had hooked a big fish that pulled out a bunch of line and then broke off. Occupational hazard for sure, we’ve all been there at some point, and I half expected a striped bass to be on the other end. Alas, there was none.
But it made me think that we all have a hand in conservation, and if we all work together then many hands will make light work. Picking up trash along a river bank or hauling out debris like old tires from a stream bed… there are many ways we all can have a positive impact on our environment.
Getting involved with a conservation group is another great way to have a positive affect. There are a number of excellent groups that focus on fresh and saltwater fisheries. When I had a lot of free time, I joined the Board of Directors of CCA in my state, but now that I’m tight on time I volunteer for a day or two each year to lend a hand on a specific project. Every little bit helps.
On top of that, every angler who buys a fishing license or boat registration helps on the big scale, since a percent of that revenue goes towards habitat management, education, fish surveys and research, fish stockings and access. Federal groups like the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service allocate funds to state fish and wildlife agencies, and those state agencies then re-allocate that revenue towards management, education and access programs. On that level, everyone who buys a license helps the cause, and combined with a grass roots effort we all have a hand in improving our fisheries and waterways.
We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and if we all do even a little bit we’ll see a dramatic improvement in our land, water, and fisheries. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
Tom Keer is an award-winning freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.