As Anglers, we’re already well connected with nature and that’s why it’s important to spend some time to reflect and make sure we’re doing all we can to offset our impact on the world.
April 22nd, every year marks Earth Day. This is the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970, which gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet. EarthDay.Org is an organisation that works in countries around the world to drive meaningful action for our planet across the following issues:
Along with climate change, the pollution in rivers, lakes and estuaries is having a catastrophic effect on plants and wildlife – and the biggest threat is in freshwater species. This is a big problem for anglers.
Earth Day provides people around the globe with opportunities to give back, whether it is joining a beach clean-up (socially distanced, of course), logging fish species or bird sightings when at the bankside, or simply learning more about the changes you can make as an angler to help the environment and as such, the Earth.
How Can Angler’s Help Look After the Earth?
Eco-Friendly Fishing in 2021 could not be easier with plenty of organisations running events to help keep the rivers, lakes, beaches we fish clean not just for us anglers to fish but for all the nature that inhabits these areas.
Cutting down on your plastic waste, recycling and using alternative packaging is just the start of what you could achieve when angling. If you want to really jump into your new responsibility of an eco-friendly angler this Earth Day, check out the following tips.
Cleaning up Litter After a Day’s Fishing
Many recreational anglers are cleaning up litter, not only after themselves but joining angler’s clubs and angling-related organisations in scheduled events of litter removal from waterways and surrounding land. Anglers are growing more conscious of the adverse publicity linked to fishing, cleaning up after themselves with fishing line, unused bait, and their own packed lunch. If you change your mentality to leaving the fishing area cleaner than what you found it, it will help the marine ecosystem improve.
Stop using Plastic Bags when Shopping for Tackle
Angling Direct stores have been plastic carrier bag free since October 2018, being replaced by biodegradable paper bags and hessian bags for life, at a cost of 10p – the paper bags are a small price to pay for the welfare of the fish we love to catch.
Recycle your Fishing Line
By recycling your fishing line, you are reducing pollution, leaving one less hazard for wildlife, and improving the image and reputation of angling. Almost all anglers care about the wider environment, as healthy wildlife and clean surroundings lead to good fishing. As such, we, here at Angling Direct know that recycling matters to you and we also know that you are all busy with work, family, and many other commitments.
Recycling your fishing line is something the whole of the angling community can agree on, with over 85% of anglers surveyed saying they would be keen to recycle their used fishing line if facilities were available. The good news is that facilities are available at Angling Direct stores, and recycling your fishing line is easy so, doing the right thing has become effortless.
In 2018, ANLRS recycled 2.5 million metres of line, most of which will be reused in the construction of traffic cones, sunglasses, skateboards, wetsuits, and swimwear. A valiant effort, but ANLRS need the cooperation of manufacturers, retailers and most importantly you, the angler. You can recycle your fishing line, which is made of plastic, at any of our Angling Direct stores, by popping your old line in one of our red recycling bins.
Making changes to what angling products you use can help reduce the negative impact on the environment. One way of achieving this is by switching to reusable, fish-friendly bait such as artificial sweetcorn or lures. Anglers can also opt for a biodegradable monofilament fishing line that breaks down faster yet still has the same performance characteristics as the regular line. Using lead products can be dangerous to fish so consider changing the friendlier materials such as steel, tungsten, or tin.
Eco-friendly angling also concerns your choice of hooks. By choosing circle hooks instead of J-hooks you can minimize internal damage, especially when practising catch and release. It is also recommended to look for rigs made of materials like glass beads, to pick knotless nets and when you are picking out other gear like waders or tackle boxes, look for those made from recycled materials.
Consider Plastic-free or Conscious Brands
After discussions with Korda, Angling Direct teamed up with the great fishing supplier to try to reduce the plastic waste on their items that comes through the AD warehouse. By transporting products in tote boxes, Korda is now saving 672m of tape each month, which is as tall as 16,800 Korda Tackle Boxes! Minimising the transit packaging waste is just the start, as we hope more will join to reduce the use of plastic in transits and packaging.
These surveys and monitoring take part in various forms of water management for the benefit of both themselves and the wider environment. By working with the Riverfly Partnership Angler Monitoring Initiative, not only do anglers get a sense of personal achievement from carrying out this sort of voluntary work but, as this work is usually carried out in the local area, this benefits the local community as well.
Follow Local Byelaws and Fishery Rules
The widespread endorsement and application of catch and release principles by anglers in wild fisheries help to protect livestock. You can further protect fish by following your local byelaws from on .GOV or research the rules of the fishery you plan to use when angling.
Often you will find fisheries outline the bait, rig presentation, hooks and more that is banned from the water to protect the welfare and give all anglers a great session of fishing. Be sure to follow these not only to respect the fishery and other anglers but the environment too.
Report Pollution & Poaching of Aquatic Wildlife
Since 2015 there are some Water Protection Zones in the UK but there are still many canals and rivers affected by farming and other agriculture disposals causing major damage to fish populations. All anglers can do is notify local Stewards of the water you are fishing from and support Angling Trust, Defra and Fish Legal in their pushing for government discussions of food product and waste that directly affects surrounding wildlife.
As well as reporting any pollution of the nature surrounding the water’s edge, anglers can also work together with organisations such as Angling Trust to face the problem of poaching and over-abstraction or any other issue on a river, still water or canal, etc. Reports of poaching and pollution are important as it helps local and, in some cases, national issues that impact the environment to be resolved.
How Does Plastic Waste Affect the Fish?
Not only polluted waterways are raising concerns, but it also causes health concerns for the fish. Specimen fish are coming up smaller than anglers would expect, or simply not appearing to be present in their favoured waters at all, even larger predators such as pikeare not reaching the headline-grabbing sizes they have done.
As anglers, the waters we fish matter to us. You do not need a degree in environmental science to know that a polluted lake, river, or ocean means, at first, smaller fish, and soon, no fish at all. Anyone who spends any time by the water knows that, once the fish go, everything else crashes soon afterwards.
If plastic pollution is contributing to declining health and populations in our coarse fish, in the same way as has been shown to be the case when it comes to ocean plastics, then it benefits anglers, among many other groups, to be involved in efforts to reduce the amount of plastic and rubbish we use and dispose of.
Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species starts with a cooperative effort by all persons and agencies involved with recreational activities such as anglers. The general clean, drain, dry, dispose procedure can be used when washing mats, nets, tackle, and other fishing equipment.
Support Charities and Organisations fight Pollution
The easiest way to support the environment is to purchase a rod licence. This not only allows you to fish in the UK waters (depending on the type of licence you buy) but also give money to the Environment Agency to invest back into the waters we use.
Invest in Angling Trust’s support pack for the campaign, here.
Additionally, you can support fisheries and related charities and organisations by supplying funds, partaking, or even organising charity events so that the resources needed to clean rivers, re-stock waters and tackle poaching, and pollution issues can be easier to obtain!
Many anglers already do so much to help the environment and we want to thank those already doing the listed tips above, and those that helped Angling Direct collect so much old fishing line to recycle!
These small differences to our angling habits in 2021 can really have a positive impact as a collective so we hope the next time you hit the bank in 2021 you give think about the ways you can help fish and its aquatic surroundings.
Angling Direct, as a retailer, try to improve our own recycling habits, please follow us on social media for any updates.
If you have more tips to help anglers be more eco-friendly or want to share your own achievements with helping the environment, contact us through our social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.