Environmental and Economical

Throughout this article I have placed most of the blame of our shrinking fisheries on us as fisherman but there have been a number of uncontrollable influences as well. For starters it has been pretty well proven that global warming is real though some politicians seem to think that it some sort of a huge hoax cooked up by scientists. I am outdoors most everyday and I really can’t tell you exactly how/why things have been changing or what impacts they have had on our fisheries but every year I do notice that we are trending towards more windy days, more violent storms and consistently higher water temperatures. As for the impacts of global warming the jury is still out in regards to how it is impacting many local fisheries but I would imagine that where we will begin the see the impacts first is in the upper extremes of North America, coral reef areas and also in highly migratory fish. As far as localized weather impacts that have recently hurt our fisheries the freeze of 2010 had the biggest impact. This freeze killed many fish such as snook in the South Florida region and also did a good number on our speckled trout and redfish populations here in South Carolina. I do give the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission a lot of credit for the way that they handled their fish kills however. Within weeks of the freeze they closed down the snook fishery and only recently opened it back up…that was a nice proactive move on their part! Another issue that doesn’t really come to mind for many people when looking at fisheries management is economical influences and it is likely because it is extremely complicated. A quick example would be increase in fuel prices that we saw a few years back. I am sure that this alone had a multitude of affects on our fisheries but one of the main things that it did was cause guys to downsize their big gas guzzling offshore boats (offshore fishing closures influenced this as well) and buy more economical inshore and backwater boats. These guys are still going out fishing, they are still going out harvesting as much as they possibly can so it basically put a lot more pressure on the near and inshore fisheries. Stay tuned for next month as we will be will be discussing how government influences have impacted our fisheries.