O'fieldstream takes a very dim view of today's commercially-driven, competition-fueled, objective-executed outdoor recreational activities. At the heart of the problem is an excessive and erroneous focus on sport for the sake of, so-called-sport.
The promotion of outdoor recreation - that engages wildlife and wild lands - with the same mindset as players hitting a field or court, fueled by the mantra, "Winners never quit and quitters never win", is both hypocritical, irresponsible and ultimately, destructive to both outdoor participant and the natural resource.
O'fieldstream is on record stating such positions only exist to defend excessive pressure on the resources, whether for personal satisfaction or market development. This mindset permeates everything from international to local economies and economic activities. Such pressures are well beyond what natural resources can bear. Yet we invent mind-game-terms like, C &R and sustainability or promote a so-called, greener position, while our actions continue to belie the reality of our promoted perceptions: wholesale consumption, with no true regard toward honest controls.
O'fieldstream is not opposed to economic development or use of the natural resources. It isn't hard to find locations where many years of successful usury has benefited local economies without exacting a fatal or near-fatal blow to the natural resource. It's very possible for people to continue to enjoy both economic returns from the same outdoor recreational activities and experience a healthy, natural state within the resource community in use.
Excessive hype - or the misapplication of well-intended conservation measures - offering a marketed reduced impact on the resource in exchange for self-control or personal responsibility, only destroys credibility and integrity. The integrity of resource users is directly proportionate to the resulting loss or maintenance of integrity of the natural resources being exploited. Years of continual service to a community in economics and aesthetics deserves better.
It is especially disgusting, when media and business attempt to disguise flagrant excess under the umbrella of credible conservation methods - such as Catch-and-Release.
Promotional campaigns that promise exceptional user experiences through multiple-fish-per-fishermen-per-day on a given body of water, while claiming 'no harm' to the resource, for the sole purpose of building a market for local economies, is wrong. Very wrong!
This type of marketing hype also builds a false sense of responsible action; ultimately destructive to the activity, the resource and those involved. Unfortunately nearly every business associated with outdoor recreation has been, and still is, guilty of this subterfuge. Today it's quite fashionable for the offenders to dilute their complicity in this charade by being involved in various real, or so-called, environmental projects, or by making some other token gesture toward resource responsibility. But the fact remains. They DO IT .. and they PROMOTE IT to their customers overtly through their actions.
And for what ? Money? How short-sighted!
For the short-term gain of a few dollars per person, the resources of both nature and integrity are offered upon the decadent alter of greed.
The result is the resource suffers and everyone wonders why. It's insane and it's hideously ludicrous. Even more disturbing, it is unnecessary and completely avoidable.
Why not promote a proven, in-place, self-imposed regulation system? It's been around for centuries.
It's called ETHICS.
Today, the very mention of ethics is considered outmoded; an intolerable action. It is seen as imposing - upon others - one's own personal belief system. This is how far we've fallen in a basic understanding our own language. An open view of our society and the basis for ethics, provides a sad, but easy-to-understand explanation for why ethics -today- is so out-of-favor. We don't want to be -TOLD!- anything, let alone that we are wrong!
ETHICS presumes a knowledge of what is right and wrong and knowing the difference between them. Then, making a conscious and willing decision to, "do the right thing at the right time".
"Ethics is what you do in the dark, before the Game Warden shows up". Paul Quinnett, Pavlov's TroutUnfortunately, in place of a simple, straight-forward, ethic of right and wrong, as a society we have adopted a wishy-washy counterfeit, known as: situation ethics. Situation ethics -
..it is the condition in which situation determines our ethics and not our ethic which determines the actions taken in any situation we encounter.The O'fieldstream Outdoor ETHIC, seeks to maintain the natural balance - NOT merely sustain - a vibrant positive, workable relationship with the natural resource. Effective today and tomorrow, through minimal disturbance on the natural process by minimizing the user-to-resource impact on any given part of the resource.
For several years now, this has been my approach to fishing and I've not felt in the least bit slighted.
The over-used, misapplied and highly abused, practice of Catch-and-Release, is an example of a workable system gone awry.
Promoting the fallacy of multiple angler-to-fish-contacts with no harm to the resource, on any given body of water, for greater sporting opportunities - limited only by the time, energy and ability of the fisherperson - is nothing more than a euphemism for licensed gluttony.
This false promotion succeeds, only through the doctrine that C&R affords such multiple sporting opportunities without consequential negative outcomes to the resource.
Stated simply: in this scenario, C&R allows you to have your cake and eat it, too. Unfortunately this piece of mythology is answered by such aphorisms as: when pigs fly, no free lunch and if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
O'fieldstream submits the fisheries, fishing and supportive economics, would all be better served - in the long run - if the fishing limits were to be administered by the following guidelines of Selective Harvest Limits:
'Selective Harvest Limits (take, release or mandatory release) will apply - insert local slot limit in number of fish] - for all species of game fish. Once the legally stated 'slot limit' - number - has been reached, the fisherperson is FINISHED for the day on(designated linear distance or water surface area) - by body, division or acreage - of lentic (still) water; and stretch -determined by linear measurement - of lotic (flowing) water."EXAMPLE: Say you're on a body of water that allows 6, 12" rainbow trout harvested per day. Once you catch and release or harvest (Selective Harvest), 6 fish (regardless of size), you break-down the rod and go to another:
- LENTIC (Still Water)
- lake, pond, reservoir, bay, inlet, estuary, shoal, acreage (based on surface area)
- LOTIC (Flowing Water)
- a new stream or a new section (designation by linear distance)
Self-restraint such as this will insure the impact on the resource -fish, water, bottom structure and surrounding environment- will be kept to minimum. This will stand in stark contrast to the excessive human-use pressure, greedily promoted and resultant from today's user mentality of 'catch until you drop'.
Sure this concept will meet with severe opposition. Why wouldn't it? It means a definite monetary loss for guides, shops, product manufactures, travel, and more. Yes, it would mean losses in the millions of $$; initially. But as in every long-term fiscal decision, the active pay-off comes only over time. But to realize the pay-off, we must first make the investment.
So, we really must ask ourselves: "What result do we want to realize?"
Interim losses: money, jobs, culture - but retain the resource and develop a new natural resource economic model ?
Loss of the whole enchilada: the money, the jobs, the culture and... the resource ?
It's not a matter of either, or ... it's a matter of WHICH. One WILL happen. The choice is ours. The choice is now.
Losses due to changing cultural shifts in how we approach all outdoor heritage activities will result in the beginning of a healthy, self-perpetuating model for economic productivity while insuring our resources will remain available to us and to future generations. Development of personally-responsible actions such as this will seed valuable harvests far beyond just sustaining populations of fish.
The development of a resource ethic, in concert with the Leopoldian Land Ethic, would go long distances toward stemming the growing tide of ignorance that has led to a subliminal and calloused disregard for the fragility of the natural resource. It is truly unfortunate, but these conditions exist in all areas of today's "Outdoor Sporting" activities.
Here are but a few examples:
- trophy fixation
- species importation
- "feed-lot" hunting
- disdain for selective harvest
- abusive Catch-n-Release promotions
- equipment mania
- excessive pressure of sensitive resources
- over-pressure due to hype-marketing
- misguided education
- resource-use arrogance
- misguided and deceptive marketing
- market influenced tradition
- trail abuse
- misguided education
- image marketing
Unwittingly, today's so-called, Outdoor Sportsmen have become an accomplice to the causes that are targeting the very extirpation of what they say they love and hold so dearly:
The freedom to openly practice our Outdoor Heritage Activities.O'fieldstream
Heritagekeeper of the Outdoor Heritage Activies
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