Although you may not realize it, you’re playing an important role in protecting our freshwater habitats and aquatic environments every time you go fishing. These freshwater ecosystems include different types of habitat that are required for fish spawning, breeding, feeding, and growth. Conserving these ecosystems is incredibly important because fish wouldn’t be able to survive without them.
Check out five specific ways fishing helps to conserve our freshwater habitats.
- Freshwater fishing license revenues go toward aquatic conservation efforts. Every time you buy or renew your state fishing license, the funds generated from the sale are invested in an endowment to support long-term fishing conservation and our aquatic resources. For example, the state of Florida receives about $12 million annually which supports fresh and saltwater fisheries programs as well as improves boating opportunities. These programs are funded 25% by state funds derived from recreational fishing license fees and 75% by Sport Fish Restoration funds.
- Excise taxes on fishing tackle and gear contribute to the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. When you stock up on fishing tackle and gear, portions of an excise tax go toward the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund mentioned above. This fund contributes to state conservation projects which help to keep our fish populations healthy through fish surveys, stocking efforts, and educational angling initiatives.
- Boat registration fees help fund aquatic resource improvements and clean water initiatives. Many anglers enjoy the experience of freshwater fishing from a boat. When you register your boat, the funds generated from boat registration fees help to implement clean water projects that benefit our freshwater habitats and improve the overall fishing experience (such as public boat ramp improvements or additional trailer parking spots).
- When you go fishing, you become educated about fishing regulations and why it’s important to practice ethical angling for conservation purposes. Once you learn about how regulations and angling ethics play a big role in maintaining healthy habitats, you can help by sharing that information with newcomers to the sport.
- Your fishing memories and experiences will encourage you to help protect what you love. The more time you spend casting out a line and fishing with your family, the more you’ll understand the need for protecting our freshwater ecosystems and fisheries. One of the key freshwater habitat facts to consider is that our planet’s freshwater ecosystems account for less than 0.01% of the planet’s total surface area, but support more than 100,000 plant and animal species. That’s a great reason to get involved in helping to conserve your favorite freshwater habitats by taking part in a waterway clean-up effort or volunteering for an improvement project through your state agency.
Since you have a better understanding of how fishing helps to conserve freshwater habitats, buy or renew your freshwater license online and get out on the water.