Towards sustainable Commercial Fishing Practices(Why not to discard your unused or sparingly used Lures, Tackle, Reels, Lines, Rods and other Fishing and angling items before putting them to good use)
I have been an avid fan of angling for more than 6 years now. Ever since I caught my first fish, a 1.5 Kg (Approx 3 Pound) Red Snapper (Mangrove Jack), the sport has captured my imagination. May it be an early Sunday morning after a hectic work week, or a late midweek night, I could set all plans aside and head out to the sea or river with my close friend, hoping to get my next big fish. Though I will admit I have not met with a lot of success catching something brag worthy, I love the whole experience of heading out to the coast with the cool breeze blowing against you and the sound of waves slowly lapping up to the shore as you reel in and cast out again in hope of a good bite that makes it all worthy.
As an amateure, I lost a lot of bait out at sea never to retrieve it back and most of these had been made of plastic or soft polymers. I thought of the number of bait that must be getting lost at sea every year all around the world and this set me thinking if there was a way to prevent this or at least lessen its incidence.
The inquisitive and restless person that I am, this set me thinking if there are wooden baits available and I bumped into a load of them being produced in Europe and America mostly. I ran a few searches on the internet and got fascinated with the idea of making and using my own wood baits. After all, imagine the number of plastic lures that must be lost when they get snagged or when a line breaks and if we use biodegradable products, at least that would be biodegraded in the sea or river over time. With the plastic baits left in the wild all the time, the total amount of this plastic must be contributing to so much pollution that if you multiply it with the number of people who must be losing lures around the world, that would add up to Tons of plastic.
So with this aim in mind, of reducing the amount of non-biodegradable bait that is lost out in the wild, I set out to design prototypes for wooden lures. I found a nice workman who was all into prototyping and had all the tools for it, & joined up with my friend to make a few designs and started producing the prototypes. However as complex and time-consuming engineering R&D is, I got a firsthand taste of its patience testing capabilities. The endeavor started throwing up a number of challenges, first was balance of the wood piece from which the bait has to be carved out, then getting the right shapes and then carving them out, then came affixing the lip such that the bait swims in a stable pattern, followed by the kind of weight to be used to give it stability and so on and so forth. The list went on and on and so also the prototyping costs and time taken. Many suggested that I move to simple plastic baits but that was a big no for me. I had one aim, every part used to produce the bait has to be biodegradable as far as possible. However, the challenges thrown up were immense and after a period of time, we just let the idea trail off.
However never did I give up on it. I always had the desire to come up with a line of baits made of all natural material, everything including the hooks, rigs, rings and even the colors used to paint them. But how do I make this happen??
Here in India, angling is a newly emerging sport but is being taken up rapidly along the coastal belt. Any angler out there will know that angling even as a hobby is an expensive sport with an average quality rod costing nothing less than Rs. 2000/- ($ 29-30). Throw in a decent reel and braid and the cost goes up by another $ 50 odd. Well and if you want to have a tackle box with some good options of bait, the cost shoots up by another 150 odd USD’s. Isn’t that expensive a whopping $200-250 (Rs. 15,000-20,000) to just start fishing. Well this is not the main issue. The main issue than follows of learning how to use the right techniques, having knowledge of the tides and times to fish and finding the right spots all this before you run out of patience. So many an amateur angler falls out of the sport before he chances upon his or her first big inspiring catch which can help them sustain the love for angling longer till it develops into a full blown hobby.
In all this is the question of how do we do it sustainably and what do we do with the unused tackle? With the all passion driving hobby that angling is, the avenues to incorporate small and large acts and deeds to make the sport sustainable are largely available though not so widely practiced. Though the awareness is much higher in the western world, the adoption of these methods and habits is slow and not so consistent in parts other than America and parts of Europe. We may never be able to achieve a 100% when it comes to making the trade or hobby of angling and fishing completely sustainable and take it to a 0% carbon footprint, however we can definitely take efforts to get as close to that aim as possible.
A few practices that help in this are listed below
- Fish within the particular specie’s size range. Catch and release juvenile fish in most cases & adult fish in cases where it takes many years for the fish to reach adulthood.
- Catch and release fish during their breeding season as may be applicable to different varieties.
- Try to minimize leaving back waste at your fishing site.
- Minimize use of plastics and plastic products where you can, including baits, lines and reel parts.
- Use Tackle made of biodegradable material like wood, metal and more.
- Be mindful of not causing pollution.
- Try to use traditional techniques and methods in your fishing jaunts as and when you can.
- Use a product as much as you can before you be discarding them so that you minimize its carbon footprint and extend its utility and bring it to the waste cycle later.
- Recycle products or resell or exchange them with someone else, if they are still good enough to use and if someone else may still find them useful thus increasing the time and cycle for them to go from useful to waste.
So as our wooden lure plans hit a slowdown, this is the new idea that influenced us. We being the consumerist society that we are and with our consumerist habits very difficult to break, we can at least try to raise awareness and incorporate small acts of sustenance and minimalism in our activities. So it is with this aim in mind, that we came up with this idea of offering a worldwide platform to recycle the use of our purchased fishing tackle. So many times we purchase that lovely looking piece of tackle and many a times, either never end up using it or just use it a few times before they lay gathering dust at our homes. These pieces could be of use to so many others and thus we could actually help the cause. So we call upon you to go back home and dust off your old tackle boxes and dig into your tackle cabinets and if you find a good tackle piece which you may not use but is still good enough you can list it up here. Not only can you sell it, you can also exchange. So let us take a small step in our journey towards sustenance. We are just a couple of friends who have come up with this idea and would need a lot of help from you to make this site better. We have tried to keep as many listings as possible free initially and then offered paid packages as we would need the money to fund our efforts and yes eventually come up with locally made wood baits. We would also be looking to suggestions from you to help improve the site and your selling, exchanging, trading and buying experiences. Do drop us a line in the “Contact us” page and we would be happy to incorporate changes. So here we set off on a journey towards making our favorite hobby a little more sustainable.
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