Conserving Spawning Aggrigations in Belize
This is a great example of the complexity of conservation and how to build it from the grassroots up. What does this have to do with fly fishing? Well, take a look at around 5:45 on the timeline above to see how a commercial fisherman went from killing fish to filming fish to catch-and-release fishing with a fly rod.
Fly fishing can certainly have a negative impact on the environment and fish stocks, if not performed properly—knowledgeable release practices, etc—but it can have a huge role in replacing income for traditional fishermen.
This has been the case in Mexico’s Ascension Bay where our guides were all former commercial fishermen that used to net bonefish and permit, but now are the greatest advocates for the protection of these species from commercial harvest. Then now get paid to take anglers from around the world on tours of their home waters, tours that occasionally involve catching fish, but, since we’re talking about permit here, not very many fish, and not very often. It seems like the way forward to me.