I F***ing Love Fish Science!
Scientific reports about fish and environment might not seem to be the most exciting to us anglers, but the work done by scientists is extremely important in keeping and eye on and improving our fishing waters.
As many of you know I fish for sea run brown trout - called seatrout here in our region. I live in the part of Denmark with the densest human population and probably the worst conditions for these fish - namely in the capital Copenhagen on the island Sealand (AKA Zealand).
Thanks to intense agriculture, large inhabited areas, colossal water consumption and cultivation of the landscape for farming, drainage, development and much else, the streams, which are ever so important to the seatrout, are few and far apart - and on top of that often very low in water.
The island has no mountains and very little elevation and the streams often have very little fall and require quite a lot of water to maintain a good bottom and water quality suitable for trout to spawn in.
While other parts of the country have larger streams and even rivers able to maintain very good salmon populations, many of our running waters can barely uphold a decent brown trout population and lag severely in good spawning grounds and sufficient water for the sea run fish.
I have known this for many years based on my own experience combined with knowledge from my years as a biology student at the University of Copenhagen.
But now I fortunately have the facts and numbers to support it.
I say fortunately, because facts and numbers are exactly what's needed to emphasize the problem and to call out to politicians and authorities to do something about it.
It's an established fact that recreational anglers - locals and tourists - are worth a lot of money. This has been concluded again and again by reports made all over the world, including one made here in Denmark a few years back. Fish caught on rods by anglers are worth a lot of money per kilo or pound. Anglers buy gear, food, gas and more, sleep in hotels, cabins and B&B's, rent boats, buy licenses and contribute on many levels to the local communities where they fish. They are at the same time "ow pressure tourists", who need few facilities, and actually prefer undisturbed nature and untouched environments.
It makes very good sense to have an attractive fishing and a nice environment. People travel to find these things and many are willing to pay a lot of money for a quality experience.
I just downloaded a newly released report on the sea trout streams here on Zealand. The report is called "The sea trout populations on Zealand, part 1" and tells the sad story of most of the streams here. The report is published by the organization Fishing Zealand, which was established a few years ago to help analyzing and improving fishing here.
The report is in Danish, so only a few GFF readers will be able to read it, and even fewer might actually want to, because most anglers honestly find such reports boring. Well, they might be, but they are also very important in the documentation of the current conditions and in forming a base for recommended actions to improve the situation.
This report is sad reading for me in particular, because the single worst region of the six covered in the report is the one were I fish the most. In the graph you see here the six regions are shown with their seatrout spawning population in percent of the potential, and in the bottom you sea my favorite fishing waters, Western Zealand, with only a fifth of the potential fish spawning due to lack of spawning streams, bad conditions in existing streams, blocked streams, lack of water, streams passing through lakes full of predators and all kinds of misery.
Only one area has a spawning population that matches the potential, and the other five are all lower than 50%, which is really unsatisfactory.
This is of course very sad, but the report is at the same time uplifting because it clearly shows and documents that there's a problem. It's the first part of two, and the second part will focus on possible solutions for this situation as well as on another part of the problems that the seatrout face: unsustainable fisheries management. It will hopefully focus on the commercial fishing for these trout, which are caught in nets by a few fishers - legal and illegal - who are very likely making surprisingly little money from ruining a potentially very rich recreational fishing. The second part will be out late 2015.