Our Brother's KeeperBy Alanna Keating
Published: April/May 2013
Finding ways to turn anglers into the guardians of rivers and lakes drives the founder of Recycled Fish.
Who was your hero when you were a kid? Superman? Your local policeman? Wonder Woman? Your teacher? In the 4th grade, Teeg Stouffer was told to write a letter to his hero as part of a class assignment. While the rest of the class wrote letters to movie stars and football players, Stouffer wrote his letter to legendary professional angler Jimmy Houston. Out of a class of 20 kids, his was the only hero to write back. It made an impression and helped to fuel Stouffer's lifelong passion for fishing. At a young age when other kids' Christmas lists included the latest games and gadgets, he asked for subscriptions to Field & Stream and Bassmaster magazines.
It's not surprising then that Stouffer found a way to combine his love of the water with his career. While he started out working in radio and event planning, Stouffer's career path took a turn one day while fly-fishing in the Cascade Mountains. As he recalls, "It was one of those epic fishing days where everything was going right." Everywhere he thought there would be fish, there were. Every cast was perfect. But despite having one of the best fishing days of his life, Stouffer had a nagging feeling that he couldn't shake. The waterway Stouffer was fishing that day was once teeming with salmon, and while the trout fishing was still great, there weren't many salmon left. He feared that his kids and grandkids might never get to experience this type of day on the water. After some reflection, the mission and concept of Recycled Fish came to life. Stouffer knew something needed to be done to preserve our waterways and fishing for future generations, and he needed to be a part of it.
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Our Lifestyle Runs Downstream
Recycled Fish's motto is "Our Lifestyle Runs Downstream." Here are a few tips on how you can reduce your impact on our waterways while on or off the water.
- Clean, drain, and dry all boating and fishing equipment to keep invasive species from spreading to other waterways.
- Keep a trash bag onboard, and keep your trash out of the water. Also, pick up some trash and bring it ashore.
- Catch and release quickly. Take pictures fast and return fish to the water carefully, or they won't survive.
- Reuse: Invest in a reusable water bottle. Leave the expensive bottled water at the store.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room. Burning fossil fuels leads to air and water pollution.
- Make sure your engines are in good working condition. Malfunctioning engines can leak fuel, or use too much of it.
- Use low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. The majority of water usage comes from showers, faucets, and toilets.
- Recycle paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass — at home, at work, and on the water.
- Introduce new people to boating and fishing. There’s no better way to connect to our natural resources than by enjoying them firsthand and you can show new boaters how they can become stewards of their waterways, too.
Since 1989, the BoatUS Foundation's Grass roots Grants program has awarded more than $1 Million to nonprofit organizations to educate boaters on safe and clean boating topics.