Marine Fisheries Resource Center
For Anglers: Ethical Angler - An Introduction

Fishing is a very popular recreational activity, and a recent survey determined fishing to be the third most popular source of fun by the public. The increase in the popularity of this sport has resulted in many changes, several of which were designed to assist with stock conservation for future enjoyment by the general public. Many recreational anglers view fishing as an important means of stress relief, and the occasion is often used to build family relationships. Fishing often develops into a lifestyle (and lifetime) sport for persons who become engaged in it. Every recreational angler needs to be a responsible angler, practicing good fishing etiquette. Fishing etiquette reduces the hassle that is usually associated with a "free for all" situation. Several golden rules were developed to help anglers practice good angling etiquette.

Interacting with the Resources

  • The most important rule in developing good fishing ethics is to uphold the conservation laws. Almost every species is governed by a combination of seasonal closure, bag limit and size limit to protect them against overfishing, and these regulations are meaningless without the full co-operation of the public.

  • Share information with persons who are unaware of fishing laws- people often break the regulations out of ignorance.

  • Take the number of fish that you can eat- there is no need to fulfill the applicable bag limit on every occasion. Also, practice proper release techniques to increase the survival of the fish.

  • Do not pollute; properly recycle and dispose of trash because pollution kills fish, birds and other wildlife.

  • Do not release live bait into waters. The bait you are using may not occur naturally where you are fishing and may have harmful effects on the fishing community if released.

  • Familiarize yourself with the fishery management planning process and get involved. Fisheries managers depend on your advice and observations to assist them to make the right decisions about the resources. You can participate in the process by attending scheduled public hearings and joining conservation clubs.

Interaction with other Anglers

  • Respect the rights of other fishers, even if they do not respect yours. The resources belong to everyone, and we are all free to enjoy them as provided by the legislation.

  • Respect the rights of landowners- do not litter, disturb plants or livestock, damage property, etc.

  • Leave room for other people to fish. Do not encroach on other fishers even if they are enjoying a "hot spot"; this will reduce the incidence of gear entanglement.

  • Be conscious of the environment- try not to make any excessive noise that would frighten fish being sought by other anglers.

  • Discuss how you will share an area when you meet another angler, e.g., you may agree to wait for a period of time, skip a stretch of water or alternate pools, etc.

  • Be courteous and generous with other anglers- give him or her more than half the breaks.

The most important rule is to always have fun!

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