PRIBT Would Accept a Total Fishing Ban

Taken from a post on PRIBT Facebook Page by Brian O’connor

 

 “A strict interpretation [of TU National Policy] would it seems, eliminate all stocking of moving water in RI outside of Providence. We are asking for much less and something more achievable in calling for a BT refuge in Arcadia. Every member of the biotic community not already extinct in the upper river would benefit from the reduction in fishing pressure which this would bring about. If it is deemed required for the protection of that biotic community, PRIBT would agree to and advocate for a total ban on fishing and wading in the proposed refuge. The river has been that seriously damaged by thirty years of put and take management. That many fishermen seem blinded to this reality is perplexing. If any other user group was as detrimental to a natural setting as fishermen have been in trampling the upper Wood, one would expect them to police themselves. One might also expect the representatives of national conservation groups to champion the health of the river and its native inhabitants over the continued use in a fashion which has caused the rivers demise.”

Click here to read the whole post

7 comments to PRIBT Would Accept a Total Fishing Ban

  • burt

    There are a lot of preserves (all over the world) where human activities are restricted and they work. Comparing a “preserve” to a “zoo” is a wild exaggeration. No pun intended.

  • It has been my experience that, whether we like it or not, conservation requires consensus. One of the primary causes for the loss of salter brook trout in Massachusetts was, and has been, that the fish were quickly forgotten once their populations were reduced to levels that could no longer provide enough “sport”. Most wealthy (influential) anglers moved on to the Catskills, the Adirondacks and Maine. Lacking the numbers of anglers needed to protect their streams, salters perished as dams and cranberry bogs were placed on trout streams causing a completely unfettered and almost whimsical downward spiral of habitat.
    There were a few who protested the decline. Theodore Lyman beat Holyoke Company before the Supreme Court (rights to fish passage and fisheries), but never followed up on his victory, prefering instead to settle into his own private salter stream (Red Brook). John Philips and Frank Benson eventually joined the Tihonnet Club, which came to rely on hatchery fish.
    Almost a century later we found that there was only limited support for restoring Red Brook until anglers came to understand that they would be able to fish there for wild salter brook trout. Not surprisingly, the ones who protested the restoration, based on their perception of exclusivity, never did fish the brook. In fact,Red Brook is lightly fished today because it is difficult fishing. But, the knowledge that you can fish Red Brook if you want to makes all of the difference when it comes to getting support, not just for Red Brook, but for the other salter streams that are in need of repair.
    The point that I’m trying to make is that our conservation efforts may be doomed if we view the possibilities only within the confines of our personal preferences. To effectively address the tasks at hand we need to make friends, not enemies. Gathering support for an idea sometimes requires one to operate outside of their “comfort zone”. Using Red Brook as an example again, we ask anglers to refrain from fishing during the spawn, and to stay out of the brook until the fry are out of their redds. Most honor the request, and because we’re asking for their cooperation on behalf of the trout, there is no resentment – everyone feels included in the restoration effort.

    • martin

      It has been my experience that, whether we like it or not, conservation requires consensus. One of the primary causes for the loss of salter brook trout in Massachusetts was, and has been, that the fish were quickly forgotten once their populations were reduced to levels that could no longer provide enough “sport”. Most wealthy (influential) anglers moved on to the Catskills, the Adirondacks and Maine. Lacking the numbers of anglers needed to protect their streams, salters perished as dams and cranberry bogs were placed on trout streams causing a completely unfettered and almost whimsical downward spiral of habitat.

      I like your comments, but the case of the Wood River is not too few anglers to care about conservation, but too many anglers who don’t care about conservation. The leadership of TU225 being a prime example. RIDEM also contributes to the problem by caving in to angler demand for more hatchery fish. This article in the NYT yesterday highlights the problem in another fishery. Too many anglers fishing for Striped Bass. Part of the solution, in my opinion, is intelligent regulation which is what our proposal is about.

  • brian o'connor

    Also, The refuge proposal calls for intensive monitoring of BT throughout the study period. This is the human element which has been stepped up in other states where BT conservation has become a priority. Yellowstone banned the use of watercraft on Park Rivers many years ago. I have taken a canoe west with me several times in order to float the Henry’s Fork and other western rivers and ponds. I have never felt that my rights have been infringed upon by not being able to float the Lamar. One of my former favorite western rivers is the west fork of the upper Bitter Root. Due to drought induced summer long water releases, this section is now capable of being floated by guides bearing wealthy clients. It now resembles the 30 mile riffle section of the Madison covered by drift boats every day of the fishing season. Sometimes, limiting access has a place in conservation. The Heyden Valley comes to mind. There is no wading and no fishing permitted there as it was determined that that activity was disruptive. I don’t want to see drift boats on the Lamar and must admit that the wader clad clusters of fly-fishers congregating at the pools closest to the road through the Lamar Valley are somewhat disruptive of the wildness of the American Seringetti. If the species now threatened in the upper Wood can benefit by stopping wading in certain sensitive areas or in it’s entirety for a five year period then I would support such a decision. I have been enjoying fish watching quite a bit lately.

  • brian o'connor

    Warren, Our refuge proposal states that we would like to see catch and release management for a five year study period. RI is undergoing a ten year revisitation of the Strategic Wildlife Plan. It has come to our attention that there is a State Endangered Mussel in the upper Wood River which is threatened by sedimentation. The no wading no fishing idea was suggested ,much to our surprise, by a state employee. While we were at first shocked, we have warmed up to the idea. The damage to this river must be seen to be believed. You would think free range cattle were grazed here. Perhaps the fastest way to heal this river is to keep folks out of it for five years. If this is what the state recommends we will support this decision. There are many other places to fish in RI. I spent the morning wading a mile of a small trib of the Pawcatuck which I visit once each year. There were no human footprints to be seen on the bars. In the upper Wood, there is no aquatic foliage to be seen among the footprints.

  • Warren Winders

    Aldo Leopold advised us that, try as we might, we can no more remove humans from ecosystems than any other species – without a consequence. The drive to protect fisheries, rivers and all wildlife comes from our own wild interactions with the natural world. Removing humans from a river is not much different than removing the fish. In the end, it is our river as much as it is the brook trout’s. Stop stocking. Pull the dams… yes. Make it no kill… ok. But denying humans the river amounts to a death sentence. Preserves are like zoos, they are phony.
    Stop the stocking of farm reared hog browns in the river, and the human factor will take care of itself.

    • martin

      This post on PRIBT Facebook Page explains the reason the river may need a temporary rest from wading fisherman. Hatchery fish creates excessive use by anglers. The endangered freshwater clam may force the state to consider a fishing (wading) ban. Once again humans create problems by not thinking long term. The “Tragedy of the Commons” also applies here.

Leave a Reply