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Exciting New Phase of the FishSmart Tackle Program Announced at ICAST 2014
7/16/2014
Credit:
American Sportfishing Association (ASA)
Launched during ICAST 2012 as a new category in the New Product Showcase, the FishSmart Tackle Program is a way to recognize and promote innovative products that significantly improve the survival of released fish. Building on this effort, the new FishSmart Tackle recognition program will recognize manufacturers that are developing FishSmart-based tackle and gear and provide them with FishSmart materials that they can use in their packaging and advertising. According to coordinators of a similar effort in Australia, retail sales of some tackle and equipment recognized as improving released fish survival increased 20-50 percent.

“We launched FishSmart and the FishSmart Tackle Program because it is the right thing to do for our fisheries resources,” remarked ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Recreational anglers have always been on the leading edge of conservation and FishSmart allows them to continue this tradition by taking a science-based approach to improving the survival of released fish.”

Each year, recreational anglers catch close to half a billion saltwater fish, with 59 percent of those being returned to the water. In freshwater, 84 percent of anglers voluntarily release fish that they could have legally kept.

“It’s perfectly acceptable for anglers to keep the fish they are permitted to keep,” continued Nussman. “However, all anglers are faced with returning fish to the water that they are not allowed to keep, due to size, season or creel limits, or if they are voluntarily practicing catch-and-release. FishSmart products will help them identify the best tackle and gear for releasing fish.”

FishSmart also developed “Best Practices” based on input garnered from workshops and meetings held throughout the U.S. that involved hundreds of leading scientists in the field of released fish survival, fishing tackle manufacturers, anglers, charter operators, outreach professionals, and state and federal fisheries managers. Although the process was led by the sportfishing community, core funding was provided by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

To be considered for recognition as FishSmart tackle, products must:

Be commercially manufactured
Be widely marketed and available to the general angling public
Have a demonstrable effect on the survivability of released fish based on peer-reviewed, scientific sources or substantial opinions by fisheries management professionals.
The FishSmart recognition program information is available to ASA members through the online ASA Member Resource Center (MRC). For more information about accessing the MRC, please email joinnow@asafishing.org.

FishSmart has also partnered with Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, state and federal fisheries agencies and the national Sea Grant program to communicate about this program.

For more information on the FishSmart program, visit www.fishsmart.org.