Oz angling model may be answer to our dilemma

MAHATMA Gandhi once said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world today.”

Those words were uttered years ago but the writing was on the wall already back then.

The world’s challenges are brought about by the individual attitudes of all on Earth. The reluctance to change is most probably the major mindset issue.

Education is the one area where all goes wrong initially – it is not the lack of education but how we are brought up and moulded.

Greed is usually the culprit as exploitation of the environment is easy pickings.

As a society, we generate waste at an alarming rate. Not enough attention is placed on biodegradable packaging, for instance. These days it would cost more to produce a product with biodegradable packaging, hence plastic prevails.

Plastic wrappers eventually end up gravitating to water and, if not collected in time, will consume and pollute our water systems. In Port Elizabeth, the trail begins above Uitenhage and moves steadily down to the Bay. Industrial waste and sewage, too, spoil our angling pastime because they impact heavily on the fish population’s wellbeing. On the brighter side, among all this pressure there are still fish being caught.

At Perseverance there are many juvenile garrick around and these fish on “drop shot” are tremendous fun.

A garrick must be 700mm in length and weigh about 4kg before it can be legally kept.

I don’t believe they are that great to eat, so I return these noble fighters anyway. Once you have caught one of these predators you will want to release it, I am sure, because it fights clean and works you over. Even the smallest ones of 300mm are energetic and full of adrenalin.

Care must be taken when reviving these fish because they fight to the death.

Gill-netting continues and is under scrutiny. It is vital that the public report all activities related to unlawful practices in the upper reaches of the Swartkops estuary as soon as they are aware of such occurrences.

It is a remote area and access to it is difficult at best. The opportunity to exploit this region is lucrative to marauders. Also, their activities impact heavily on our juvenile fish that use the area as a sanctuary.

Future fish populations will be severely depleted if such practices are not curbed.

Chris Schoultz is a master artificial lure angler and assures me persistence always yields benefits. Photographed is another prize garrick caught on the Swartkops by Schoultz, who releases all his fish.

I am sure luck runs in favour of those who look after their luck by releasing good fish like this.

That fish will breed again, placing another thousand back in the ocean. Most fish spawn at sea and enter the estuaries once the fry have hatched. It is at this stage in their life cycle that they are most vulnerable.

There are high mortalities in these small fish populations because they are heavily preyed on by predator fish.

They find secluded spots to inhabit in an estuary until they are big enough to venture out to sea for the first time. It is during this cycle of life that the next few years’ angling is affected either positively or negatively.

In Australia they exercise a “slot size”, which might be an alternative idea to the present system of measuring and determining if fish should be kept or released.

By slot size they mean a fish not smaller than “X” and not larger than “Y”.

Before this can happen, we first have to get the critically low stock numbers up – or would a slot size create more stock? You be the judge.

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