OK Bill, you too have struck the nerve. First, please understand I am not making my comments to offend or criticize you or Don. I am only furthering the discussion as it effects my love of fishing, yours and Don’s love of fishing.
Both of you make your point that the local fishing guide is causing harm to the resource by keeping the fish he catches when he takes tourists fishing. Now, I will not accept as a premise that this part of the resource, the mutton snapper, lane snapper, mangrove snapper and the other desirable eatable fish that are caught by the hook and line fisherman are in danger at this point in time. My only belief in that, albeit not scientific, is that I can go out any day and catch a live well full of these fish. Part of the article that started this discussion stated that one of the reasons for the fish population decrease in that part of the world was due to dynamiting to get the fish. Fortunately we have not adopted that tactic. But what and who creates the excessive, excessive being the key word, demand for the fish? Is it the local fisherman whose family for generations has relied on the sea to provide fish for them and the other locals? Or is it the huge influx of tourists and condo buying gringos, like me, that come here and create the demand for more and more restaurants with “catch of the day” specials?

So just for the sake of the discussion, let’s say that the resource will be in danger at some point in time. Would it not be reasonable then to say that, in order to protect it, since it was not in danger prior to tourists coming here that tourists can no longer eat fish, only the locals can eat fish? Absurd, yes. But does it not identify the problem?

So my point being, I think it is hypocritical for us to expect the locals to stop what they have been doing for generations at this time. Sure advances have been made by promoting catch and release for game fish and we tourist fisherman can take credit for adopting that when we fish here. A minor point. Don do you and your friends also use barbless hooks? If you do, I commend you. The vast majority of the fly fishermen I see here do not.

Finally, as long as there is this demand for fish to eat, I believe that the tourist hiring the guide to take him snapper fishing and allowing the guide to take that catch back to be utilized to fill the demand is far better than by not doing that therefore encouraging the use of netting and fish traps, and maybe at some point in time dynamiting, is a far better alternative to fill the demand that we have created.

Bottom line, before we start telling the local he should not be keeping the fish he catches because he is the problem, should we not look at the problems we have created. My belief is that an honest look at that shows that our demand for land to build condos on and restaurants to go and eat fish in is a greater threat to the resource.

Last edited by bywarren; 04/20/07 06:42 AM.