This year, Native Fish Society is launching our “Keep ‘Em Wet” initiative to increase angler awareness about the negative effects of air exposure to wild fish.
Now don’t get us wrong, we’ve all taken fish out of the water to snap a photo, Native Fish Society staff members included. But the more we learn about these issues and take care of the fish we love the more healthy wild fish there will be to catch. Right!?
Even when anglers are taking precautionary measures, like crushing the barb, prolonged air exposure can make it difficult for fish to recover and there are delayed negative effects that may not be apparent even if the fish seems fine when it swims away.
Studies have shown that the longer a fish is exposed to air after exhausting exercise the higher their mortality rates are (Ferguson and Tufts, 1992; Gale et al, 2011). Even 30 seconds of air exposure reduces a trout’s ability to recover and can provide a significant additional stress even when catch and release fishing (Ferguson and Tufts, 1992).
So, let’s get creative and start our campaigns to protect wild fish by keeping them wet and in the water. In 2015, NFS's focus will be to Keep 'Em Wet.