Matthew Barnett/istockphoto


Eating a fish from a lake or an ocean is iffy enough with all the mercury and other pollutants in our waters. These pollutants come from a number of different sources, coal plants, pesticide runoff, etc. This time, however, it's the fishing itself that is polluting.

The type of equipment you use to catch your fish could be detrimental to the world's coral reefs and their fish population, according to the study by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. The Wildlife Conservation Society discovered that the use of spear guns, gill nets, and fish traps were the most damaging to coral reefs and the species of fish that are necessary for the coral reef's recovery. Beach seine nets do not target as many fish species as the guns, nets, or traps, but they are dangerous to the corals themselves and kill off thousands of juvenile fish.

How Everyday Fisherman Can Help Save Coral Reefs

For those of us that fish for a leisurely activity with the bonus of having something exotic for dinner, this equipment is simple to avoid. Don't use spear guns, gill nets, fish traps, or beach seine nets. Also, avoid old-fashioned lead weights when buying second-hand fishing gear.

Unfortunately, if you are a fisherman in a developing country with an impoverished coastal population demanding marine life as the main source of protein in their diet, this a nearly impossible adjustment. Spear guns, for instance, are cheap and easily accessible. Without them, already poor fishermen would lose their source of income.

You can't simply impose an arbitrary ban on their use ? you need to consider issues like compensation, other fishing options, or alternative livelihoods for the affected fishers," says co-author Dr. Shaun Wilson of the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation.

Source: Science Daily.

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