Freshwater Stewardship and Angling Ethics

Angling ethics is an issue that should be important to every individual who utilizes Florida's fisheries resources for any reason. There are several sets of guidelines for ethical anglers that are promulgated by various organizations.  The following Angler's Code of Ethics icon_PDF.gif is worth reviewing.  It is modified from the National Marine Fisheries Service's code:

  • Demonstrate and promote, through education and practice, ethical behavior in use of aquatic resources.
  • Value and respect the aquatic environment and all living things.
  • Avoid spilling and never dumps pollutants, such as gas or oil.
  • Dispose of trash, including worn lines, leaders and hooks, in appropriate containers, and recycle whenever possible.  (see Monofilament recycling)
  • Keep fishing sites litter-free.
  • If necessary, purchase and keep current your fishing license.  If you are exempt, you may still purchase a license as a way to contribute to conservation (see our licensing page).
  • Take precautionary measures to prevent spread of exotic plants and animals (see exotic critters and non-native freshwater fishes).
  • Learn and obey angling and boating regulations (see for details).
  • Treat other anglers, boaters and property owners with courtesy and respect.
  • Respect property rights, and never trespass on private lands or waters.
  • Keep no more fish than needed for consumption, and never wastefully discard fish.
  • Carefully handle and release alive all fish that are unwanted or prohibited by regulation (see catch-and-release tips).
  • Use tackle and techniques that minimize harm to fish when "
    catch and release" angling.

"Conservation Stewardship" is taking personal responsibility to sustain, and enhance living and non-living resources, while accepting the obligation to the environment and future users.  This includes a broader commitment than simply doing what's right when you are recreating.  It involves a day-to-day commitment to conserve water and energy and make wise choices when it comes to your personal actions such as using pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers in areas that impact fish and wildlife or their habitats including ground or surface water.  Many sites offer great advise on how to be a conservation steward, one is the Private Landowner Network, another is Audubon; the Sierra Club has a water pledge and tips.

FWC Facts:
Florida's natural lands and waters are at the core of our state's prosperity, bringing billions of dollars in economic benefits to our state every year.

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