The effects of climate change on the environment can impact recreational fishing. This was the findings of a recent research study conducted by the North Carolina State University. The report was published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, in October, 2019.
Roger von Haefen, a professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University who co-authored the study reported that
“We are looking at declines in participation in recreational fishing by around 15% by the year 2080, if there are no significant efforts to curtail climate change.”
Professor von Haefen pointed out that their study focused mainly on how changes in precipitation and temperature will influence the willingness of anglers to fish from the shore. Their work did not take into consideration other factors that could affect the demand for recreational fishing, such shifts in fish population, water quality or other climate change occurrences.
The research work incorporated data into a model that simulated recreational behavior, which combined forecasts based on 132 general circulation models. Each model was designed to predict future weather conditions under scenarios with varying greenhouse gas reductions.
Based on how the simulated recreational behavior model responded to the different climate change scenarios, Steven Dundas, co-author of the study, who is an Assistant Professor of Applied Economics at Oregon State University, described the best and worst case scenarios. He reported that if the world adopts stringent mitigation efforts to arrest the effects of climate change, fishing participation will see a drop of only 2.6% by the year 2080.
If otherwise, Professor Dundas said that under a “worst-case scenario”, decline in recreational fishing participation will start at 3.4 % within the next 30 years, to drop further by as much as 9.9% by the year 2050, and eventually by 15% by the year 2080.
Still, Professor von Haefen added that in cooler areas like New England, there could be increases in fishing recreation activities, especially during spring and autumn. In contrast, hotter states such as those located in the Gulf region and in the Southeast, recreational fishing will likely see significant declines during summertime.
The results of their study also suggests that avid anglers who will still fish during hot days may make adjustments by fishing at night or in the early mornings.
Underscoring the Importance of Responsible Recreational Fishing
The findings underscores the importance of practicing sustainable fishing methods that not only protect fisheries but also help in mitigating the effects of climate change. Anglers tend to be more concerned on the gears to use to ensure success every time thy go out and fish. However, they should also have awareness of fishing habits that can negatively impacts the environment.
First and foremost is to be mindful of the fishing regulations because state governments have put them in place to protect fisheries and the environment as a whole.
Make sure the boat in use is properly maintained to avoid burning more fuel or oil than is necessary.
Practice reuse and recycle, which include throwing disposables like plastic bottles and monofilament fishing lines, in recycling bins.
Speaking of monofilament fishing lines, many do not recommend the use of monofilament as backing. Mainly because the stretch and the heat produced by monofilament as backing can do harm to one’s fly reel. Anyway, if you have experienced this and are currently looking for a replacement, you can always find the best fly reel under 200.