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Free Catch & Release Workshop at West Marine in Santa Cruz, California, Nov. 26
The Sportfishing Conservancy
On Tuesday, November 26 from 6 to 7 p.m., recreational fishermen, charter guides, fisheries managers and top marine scientists will gather in the West Marine store in Santa Cruz, California to exchange ideas on increasing the effectiveness of "catch & release" angling. This free, open-to-the public event is a joint effort of The Sportfishing Conservancy, The National Marine Fishery Service and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. West Marine has generously agreed to provide facilities in their store at 2450 17th Avenue in Santa Cruz to hold the event, and is also helping to spread the word to the recreational fishing community in the region.

This latest Best Practices Workshop follows similar recent successful events in Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, California and Hawaii. Like these earlier events (all staged near National Marine Sanctuaries), this central California coastal workshop will focus on popular regional sport fisheries and how recreational anglers can do a better job of making sure the fish they release survive. It will focus on specific recreational fisheries popular in the region -such as salmon and rockfish - and explore ways anglers can improve the survival rate of fish they release. "Whether it's by personal choice or to meet ever-changing regulations, sport fisherman today release significantly more fish than they keep," said Tom Raftican, President of The Sportfishing Conservancy, a non-profit sport fishing/conservation organization. "With this in mind, it's easy to see how great an impact we could make if we all did a better job of releasing fish alive and healthy. Improvement in this area can lead directly to robust marine resources and better sport fishing for everyone."

The November 26 Best Practices Workshop will be a special "shortened-format" evening event, allowing anglers and others to attend after work. Still, organizers plan to pack a lot of good information into the session that will benefit fishermen and allow anglers and the marine science community to learn from each other.

Although the workshop will cover a wide variety of topics, tools and techniques, recent studies on rockfish and recommendations for successfully recompressing and releasing these bottom dwelling species will be a highlight. Among other things, this workshop will open people's eyes to the fact that rockfish - if properly handled and returned to depth - have an excellent survival rate.

In addition to presentations, there will be ample opportunity for group and individual discussions where fishermen can share their own techniques and tools for successful catch and release fishing. "This event will emphasize audience participation and an open exchange of ideas and information. Our goal is to provide a platform for an open, mutual exchange of ideas. We're very grateful to the folks at West Marine for providing the space for this meeting and helping to bring fishermen and the marine science community together in a constructive manner," added Raftican.

For more information and details about the upcoming Best Practices Fishing Workshop in Santa Cruz, contact the West Marine store at (831) 476-1800. People can also contact the Sportfishing Conservancy at (805) 895-3000 or visit the non-profit organization's website at