Keep Fish Wet, a non-profit organization, is spreading awareness and education on ethical fish-handling practices through fundraising, community involvement, and publicizing the word of proper fish handling.
Properly handling a fish during catch and release is crucial for several reasons, all aimed at ensuring the fish’s health and survival, maintaining sustainable fish populations and preserving the overall health of aquatic ecosystems. Keep Fish Wet, a non-profit organization, is part of an angling and fisheries conservation movement and educational campaign promoting the practice of adequately handling fish to maximize their survival after catch and release. The initiative emphasizes the importance of keeping fish in the water or minimizing their time out of water to enhance their chances of survival and overall well-being.
Keep Fish Wet promotes five main practices that define its mission.
- Minimize air exposure: Reduce the time fish spend out of the water, particularly by minimizing exposure to air. Limiting air exposure helps prevent stress and injury to the fish’s gills and other vital organs.
- Keep fish submerged: Whenever possible, keep the fish in the water while unhooking, measuring, or photographing. Avoid lifting the fish out of the water unnecessarily.
- Wet your hands: Wet your hands before handling fish to avoid removing their skin’s protective mucus layer. Dry hands can remove this layer, making fish more susceptible to infections and diseases.
- Handle gently: Handle fish carefully and gently to minimize stress and potential injuries. Avoid squeezing or applying excessive pressure on the fish. Handling a fish properly helps increase its chances of survival after release. Stress and injury during handling can weaken the fish and make it more susceptible to predation and disease. The quicker and more gently a fish is released, the better its chances of surviving and thriving post-release.
- Use appropriate gear: Use appropriate gear, including barbless hooks and landing nets, to minimize injury to the fish during catch and release.
- Practice catch and release responsibly: Follow proper catch-and-release techniques and release fish to maximize their chances of survival.
Catch and release is a common practice to help conserve fish populations, especially for vulnerable, threatened or in-decline species. By releasing fish back into the water, anglers contribute to maintaining a healthy population and preventing overexploitation. Fish play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of aquatic ecosystems. Overfishing or mishandling fish can disrupt this balance, affecting other species and the ecosystem as a whole. Proper handling ensures that fish continue to fulfill their ecological roles in the ecosystem.
“Keep Fish Wet” is about ensuring the well-being of individual fish and contributing to the long-term sustainability of fish populations and the overall health of aquatic ecosystems. By adopting these principles and spreading awareness, anglers and fishing enthusiasts can help preserve fish populations and their habitats for future generations.
To learn more about Keep Fish Wet, or to get involved, please visit https://www.keepfishwet.org/.