Professional Cyclists use all manner of electronics to measure and track their performance. A heart-rate monitor, hubs that measure power output, one-way and two-way radios, cyclometers with GPS; they are all part of the cyclist's kit.
On a day off, many cyclists leave their electronics behind and go for a ride. They call it cycling naked.
We are in a similar situation. We have all manner of gadgets and electronics in our vests and boats. We have temperature sensors, sonars, GPS tracking devices, scads of tape measures, and digital scales accurate to within one-tenth of a milligram. When we catch a fish, we can measure the weight, length, and girth. We can weigh it and resuscitate it before we release it back into the wild.
However, when we measure the fish, we are exposing it to air. As Andy Danylchuk reported in his research, “longer durations of air exposure and handling times positively influenced the loss of equilibrium in bonefish.” He adds, “released bonefish that had lost equilibrium were six times more likely to suffer predation than those released without losing equilibrium.” A fish may swim away but may not survive if another fish eats it.
Next time you go fishing, keep your clothes on and fish naked…leave the gadgets behind. Rather than measuring and weighing the fish, leave it in the water. Unhook the fish in the water, resuscitateit in the water, and release it right away. Rather than taking a picture, go for simplicity. Enjoy the satisfaction of having caught a prized fish.
For More Conservation Tips visit www.recycledfish.org