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Bisbees Conservation Journal Q2 2015

BISBEE’S CONSERVATION JOURNAL Q2 • 2015 95 For anglers, the welfare of billfish should be the first priority. It can start by first ensuring that non-offset, circle hooks are used with all natural baits, good angling, hook removal, and using tackle to match the size of your query. Taking the time to rig baits, spectacular boat handling, and world-class angling is all null though if the fish is pulled from the water. If an angler does elect to take a picture with his or her fish TBF recommends that safe handling practices are always followed. It’s very important that the billfish is not too ‘green’ or lively before a crew member attempts to subdue the fish alongside the gunnel. If onboard, use of a ‘snooter’ or similar handling device is recommended not just for the safety of the fish, but crew members as well. Keeping the boat in gear and the fish’s lower jaw in the water is necessary to ensure oxygenated water is passing over the fish’s gills. All the angler has to do is lean over the gunnel while a photographer snaps some shots from the bridge, the deck, or even better, from another friend’s boat. Taking the time to ensure a safe release is the mark of a real sportsman, not just the number of flags flying from outriggers, or pictures on a wall. Pursuing billfish or any query should come from a passion for the animals and sport. If the only reason you set out to go billfishing is so you can get a ‘hero shot’ then you are in the wrong sport. The next time someone wants to get a pull a billfish out of the water for a picture, ask that person if the picture is worth the life of the fish. Many would argue that it is not just distasteful, but irresponsible. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s not worth killing a billfish. by Michael Kelly


Bisbees Conservation Journal Q2 2015
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