Conservation

Real Numbers about Reel Fishing

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — With more than 33 million anglers in the United States spending nearly $42 billion a year on their activities, sportfishing in America is big business. From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and everywhere in between, anglers young and old spend money on equipment, boats, travel, food, gas and more. But for those companies providing goods and services to sportfishermen, understanding precisely where those dollars are being spent has been elusive. That is until now.

For the first time, detailed market data are available. Southwick Associates, the outdoor industry’s leading research and survey firm, is offering its 2012 Size of the Sportfishing Market Report that presents the actual dollars spent on a wide range of detailed sportfishing product categories and even for top brands. The report identifies the true size of the fishing rod and reel market, as well as those for fishing line, lures, terminal tackle, fly-fishing gear, fishing electronics, ice fishing, fishing apparel and other key equipment categories within the sportfishing market.

“Understanding how and where fishermen spend their money can help businesses and organizations better position themselves to serve this lucrative group of consumers,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. “Our intention is to help sportfishing businesses better understand the U.S. sportfishing market and improve not only their business performance, but to provide the products anglers want.”

Southwick Associates utilizes proprietary market data from their own research combined with the most recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other key government sources to compile the report.

  • The 2012 Size of the Sportfishing Market Report is the latest in a series of market reports being made available by Southwick Associates. Also available for sale are:
  • The 2012 Size of Hunting Market Report, which provides data on the actual dollars spent by hunters on product categories such as traditional rifles, tactical rifles, handguns, shotguns, muzzleloaders, air rifles, ammunition types, bowhunting, decoys, game calls, optics, handloading and more.
  • The 2012 Size of Firearms and Ammunition Market Report, which examines how much money is spent on the total rifle market including sales of traditional rifles versus tactical or modern sporting rifles (MSR), as well as total sales of handguns, shotguns, muzzleloaders, air rifles, rifle ammunition, handgun ammunition and shotgun ammunition.
  • The 2012 Size of the Recreational Shooting Market (coming this fall!), a report produced with the cooperation of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) that provides insight into the actual numbers of participants and dollars spent on shooting handguns, rifles, shotguns and other types of firearms, as well as archery, handloading, types of ammunition purchased and more.

For pricing information or to purchase any of Southwick Associates’ market reports, contact John DePalma, with Brand Intelligent, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 303-552-8454. More information can also be found on southwickassociates.com.

About Southwick Associates: Southwick Associates was founded in 1989, serving state fish and wildlife agencies, sportfishing and hunting industries, and non-profits. We specialize in economic and business statistics related to fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation. Our expertise includes measuring retail expenditures by anglers, hunters, wildlife viewers and other outdoor recreationists; quantifying the jobs, tax revenues and other economic impacts of outdoor recreation; tracking trends within outdoor industries; identifying major distribution channels and the overall structure of specific outdoor-related industries; and analyzing the value of fish and wildlife resources and their uses including land transactions, new business ventures, fish kills and more. Visit us at www.southwickassociates.com.

Thanks to the cool people at Southwick for access to this press release. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southwick Associates Offers First Report of its Kind to Identify the True Size of the Sportfishing Market in America

A good hike

"Like a bull in a china shop" was my mother's expression for unwanted rowdy behavior, although neither bulls nor china shops were part of my Brooklyn childhood. Now, in an unlikely setting, her words came back to me.

It was a 4 mile hike, a happy couple of hours outside between rains, and every step I took was bullishly loud on the otherwise silent mountain trail. My boots and walking stick making weird sucking, slushy noises against the muddy ground; the Velcro on my jacket practically screamed in protest as I readjusted, getting hot from the climb; even the sound of my own breathing was glaringly loud against the grey mist and weighty quiet. More so than at most times, my sense of joy at simply being someplace lovely bumped uncomfortably up against the awareness of just what an ungainly intruder a person is in quiet, wild places.

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Walking outside the reach of our cell phones, computers, tablets, and engines is a healthy thing to do.

After half a mile or so I stopped to admire the biggest Banana Slug I've ever seen, a San Francisco Bay Area native shell-less terrestrial cousin of clams and oysters. Banana slugs are among the largest of the world's slugs and this greenish/yellow individual was close to ten inches of bulbous sausage, like an organ which somehow escaped from a whole body slowly and silently making a run for freedom and biological independence. I recalled that this hermaphroditic critter moves by sinuously wriggling his/her single muscular foot, riding a manufactured slime trail thick enough to protect the animal even if moving along the edge of a razorblade much less sharp twigs and stones.

If an animal can be said to glide on the ground, that's what I was seeing here. Gliding silently, effortlessly, slowly, and patiently too, I think. On the other hand, bullish, I marched off.

The second animal sighting on this hike was a rare privilege. As I rounded a sharp turn I came upon a Great Horned Owl royally perched on a boulder just off the trail, less than a dozen feet away. Animals don't necessarily always choose to follow the narrow rules we set for them, and this owl appeared not in the least embarrassed by his other-than-nocturnal appearance. He twisted his head in my direction, sizing up this ungainly loud intruder with owl-large golden eyes. Then, without demonstrating fear or hurry or even the slightest interest in the awe he was inspiring, he leaned forward, raised majestic wings and lifted silently into the sky, apparently without effort. One could use words like "rose into the air", or even "ascended." Silent.

Neither of my parents was especially interested in animals or the natural world. Remembering to water the one potted plant barely surviving on our third floor apartment's fire-escape was as close to environmental stewardship as they got. But my mother's words were entirely appropriate to this moment.

Like a bull in a china shop, we humans disturb and often actually break all that we touch as we charge about this world, oversized and overloud. We do not glide along this Earth or lift silently above it into the air. We bump and bungle along, this thinking and awkward animal who shows little ability to move with the grace of our cousins and neighbors in a world best appreciated and enjoyed in silence.

From the publisher: Ken White is the President of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA. For the geographically-challenged among our angling readership, that's the San Francisco Bay area. His work to protect our footed and feathered and shelled friends is only part of who he is. I met Ken in another life - the one where I spend time digging in the dirt and participating in worldwide auctions. The subject of our collective passion is American Indian Relics. I came across some beautiful pieces from the beaches of Marin County a few years ago. They were part of a large collection that included Gulf Coast artifacts I wanted for my personal frames. From the first messages on eBay, we grew to find that our views of reality, people, life, and the animals we both love were way more than compatible; we made each other laugh.

He's a very special guy, and his work with the San Francisco bay area SPCA and Humane Society puts him in that special breed of people that literally devote their lives to the world around us. The readers that know me personally know that I believe that "Activism" requires actions, not words about actions. From "Fishing Rights" activists to Animal Rights Activists to Environmental Activists to You-Name-a-Cause Activists, most of the people that talk about rights do not know very much about the rights they're whining about saving. Guys like Ken are the true activists. They act. They do things like nursing a falcon - shot with the BB's of some toy-gun activist, I am sure - back to health before letting the animal free in the wild. He had to teach the animal to eat again, it had been so badly injured. From the animals we both feed in our respective gardens to the artifacts we love to touch, share, and discuss so very much, he has blessed my life in a lot of ways. I am hoping to share more of my considerable collection of artifacts, my connections to the inside world of Amerind Relics (!) and my pure Constitutional Tea-Party political views with my new but very cool friend Ken in return for more articles of this quality :). I got him to write a short bio, which you can read here.

Seagrass: A Healthy Resource?

The sea grass beds that carpet Anna Maria Sound and extend south through Sarasota Bay harbor a tremendous array of living creatures. This critical and diverse ecosystem is mostly out of sight except at extreme low tides. While it might be hard to believe, sea grasses are flowering plants that serve a number of important functions. Because they flower, sea grasses require sunlight and are limited to clear, shallow waters. They produce oxygen, bind sediments and baffle wave action while cleansing coastal waters.. Sea grass roots, their leaves, epiphytes and micro algae, that cling to them, clean water by converting dissolved nutrients into plant matter. Besides giving us clean and clear water, sea grasses are home to the organisms that provide food and shelter for fish, crustaceans, shellfish, manatees and wading birds.

Of the 52 species of sea grasses worldwide, only seven are found in Florida. On Florida’s west central coast they include turtle (Thalassia testudinum), shoal (Halodule wrightii) and manatee grasses (Syringodium filiforme). The historical loss of these species has been extensive throughout Florida. Tampa Bay has lost 81% of its historical cover, Sarasota Bay 35% and Charlotte Harbor 29% through poor watershed management (storm water run-off and sewage disposal) dredge and fill operations and scaring from boats, have taken a heavy toll on Florida’s sea grasses.

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Tampa Bay has lost 81% of its historic sea grass, Sarasota Bay 35% and Charlotte Harbor 29%. Working with local organizations and paying attention to ourselves can help Mother Nature rebuild those grasses. Depending on where you live, pick and help one or more of the conservation organizations listed in Rusty's article.

Fortunately the influence of citizens through organizations like Tampa Bay Watch, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota Bay Watch and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program have instituted programs that are beginning to turn the tide on water quality. The most important of these has probably been the elimination of small, poorly maintained regional sewage systems.

Anglers, from experience, are aware of the importance of these prolific, shallow beds. They experience first hand the myriad interactions that produce fertile fisheries. They may not understand the intricate web of existence that proceeds from the microscopic level to the fish on the end of their line, but they reap the benefits nonetheless. Government scientists (NOAA) consider sea grasses to be of such importance that they have adopted a “no net loss” policy to manage them. Despite this noble pronouncement sea grasses remain under assault.

Keeping the Grass Healthy

Preventing the loss of valuable sea grass beds must be a higher priority. Watershed management, replanting, avoidance of direct impacts to existing grasses, and mitigation are avenues to reach those goals.

Mitigation involves the replacement of sea grasses impacted by residential and commercial development. In theory there should be at least one acre (more is required) of sea grasses created (that flourishes and survives) for every acre that is destroyed. However the literature reveals that the effectiveness of mitigating sea grass damage is considered, even among the leading wetland scientists, as marginal at best.

We've heard a lot of pronouncements recently about how sea grass has rebounded in Sarasota Bay. Many reports have touted the increased acreage that has been recorded in recent years. I hope they are correct, but the condition of many flats from Cortez to Longbar has me concerned. An algae bloom just south of Tidy Island is the worst I've seen in thirty years. The algae has completely covered hundreds of acres of sea grass. These were recently some very healthy sea grass beds that have traditionally been home to healthy populations of snook, redfish and trout. In some places sea grass can be seen through the algae bed, while in other places they are completed covered. Blooms like this have come and gone in the past but I'm concerned that we're not paying enough attention to the causes and effects of these insults to the bay. Fortunately, I'm sure that with some input from the public and some changes in policy the bay will respond favorably. One thing I'm sure of, if we don't pay attention and demand action things will only get worse.

It is a foregone conclusion that development will continue to impact coastal areas and their sea grass resources. It is vital that decisions are made that will allow needed development while protecting the quality of our most valuable local resources. Enlightened citizens, anglers and their interest groups must take part in this decision making process. Cost considerations often eclipse concerns for seagrasses, but research reveals the true value of these resources. A study (Virnstein and Morris 1996) conducted in the Indian River Lagoon estimated the value of sea grass to be $12,500 per acre, per year, based solely on economic values derived from recreational and commercial fisheries.

Having established the importance both ecologically and economically of sea grasses, it is crucial that we develop rules and procedures that assure we maintain (no net loss) the current standing stock. A wiser decision would be to enact management policies mandating an increase in these “rain forests” of the sea.

Rusty Chinnis is involved with local Bay Watch organizations and does a great deal protecting our environment. He's also an established contractor and property manager. If you require any direction on construction projects, or need space to rent for visitors you want put into beautiful property, contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Dolphin Murders

Most of the time we find ourselves working against the anti-fishing activities of environmental groups, but that's not the case when it comes to criminals killing dolphins. While we're sure we could find things we disagree about, one thing we share is an unquestioned love for our world and the species we share it with. As avid catch & release anglers, we love eating a good catch now and then. But the species we share this world with are yours to protect, as much as they are -- more -- to harvest. Without our protection, they will not survive our civilization. To that end, we encounter and applaud people like Captain Paul Watson, the founder of the group, a man that has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people who have been murdering dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. Help the captain find these criminals. Because that's what they are: Criminals.

Captain-Watson

For more information about Captain Watson and his organization, click here: www.SeaShepherd.org. You can also donate by scrolling to the bottom of the story on THEIR website (link just provided above). You will see a "Donate" button.

Captain Paul Watson, founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is personally offering $20,000 of his own funds for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting and stabbing dolphins along the northern Gulf Coast of the U.S.

In recent months, dolphins have washed ashore in the region with bullet wounds and missing jaws and fins, and federal officials report they are investigating the spate of mysterious killings. Most recently, a dolphin was found dead off the coast of Mississippi with its lower jaw missing. In areas such as Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, dolphins have been found shot, stabbed and mutilated. Officials in the region have reported they believe that the person or group responsible is on a 'rampage' because they are not just killing dolphins, but also mutilating them.

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) yesterday announced they are asking everyone from beach-goers to fishermen to wildlife agents to be on the lookout for injured or dead dolphins, as well as any unusual interactions between the mammals and people. Attacks on dolphins, animals that are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, carry fines and jail sentences. It is not known who is killing the protected animals, but in the past fishermen and charter boat captains have been convicted of harming dolphins they thought were taking bait or fish. Given the stress the Gulf region is still under from the devastating oil spill and the damage done to fish populations, there may be displaced anger that they are taking out on the friendly and curious dolphins, which they may view as competition for fish.

"I regard the killing of a dolphin as murder, and what we appear to have on the Gold Coast is a dolphin serial killer. I want this sadistic killer stopped, and I have set aside $20,000 of my own savings to be paid out to any person who delivers the evidence to find and convict this person or persons. Any person coming forward with evidence may remain anonymous and can communicate with NOAA, NMFS, or Gulf Coast law enforcement officials with this information," said Captain Watson.

About Sea Shepard Conservation

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

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A Better Idea for Fishing Line Recycling Bins

Discarded line can be lethal to wildlife, as evidenced by my photo above. This great blue heron died a brutal death, strangled by fishing line.

That is why recycled fishing line bins at launch ramps and access sites are such a good idea. Because of them, miles and miles of line are properly disposed of instead of being tossed into water or onto land.

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Dead heron hung by fishing line. Photo by: Robert Montgomery

How do I know this? The Good Ole Boys Bass Club of New York has collected 6.5 pounds of monofilament during two years of maintaining these bins. One pound of 10-pound-test line is 10,000 yards long. One mile is 1,760 yards. You do the math.

But we're now learning that even line inside the bins can be fatal to birds.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says this:

"It recently came to our attention that the receptacles themselves could be hazards to some cavity-nesting birds. Tree swallows and prothonotary warblers were found dead and entangled in fishing line inside similar receptacles in other states. The birds apparently see the plastic tubes as potential nest sites but become entangled in the used line upon entering."

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Notice the bin is perfect sized for a small bird to fit it

A simple modification solves the problem. A rubber cover is placed over the opening, with a slit down the middle to allow line to be inserted, while keeping birds out. Go here to read more about how to do it: mdc.mo.gov/blogs/fresh-afield/best-laid-plans-birds-and-men

Also check out Protect Birds from the Danger of Open Pipes here: ca.audubon.org/workinglands-pipes.php

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From the Publisher: This short story was worth space on our front page -- and your time to properly discard your used line is way more valuable to our community and environment than our pixel space. So read this twice if you need to, and stick a sign on your head if you keep forgetting. That one dead bird Robert shot is enough to make me think of how many times I 'accidentally' didn't pay attention to eight feet of line that got torn or lost during (or after) a battle with a big fish, or a tangle that got me p-eed off. Take care of where we live. It's all our back yards, after all.