Fishing, Gone?: Saving the Ocean through Sportfishing

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Texas A&M University Press, Apr 2, 2019 - Nature - 288 pages
Humans have a rapacious relationship with the world’s ocean, extracting immeasurable quantities of its inhabitants and resources, while simultaneously depositing unbound sums of pollution into it. If we are to move toward sustainable practices, then we must first move toward ways of thinking about fish and fisheries beyond mere economic agendas. And there is one group in particular who could make an impact: saltwater anglers.

Recreational saltwater fishing is big business and big culture. The industry is one of the largest in the United States, but that has not translated into a cohesive effort, agenda, or ethic. Saltwater anglers, a diverse group with a range of motivations, do not belong to a single organization through which to galvanize significant voting or lobbying power toward conservation regulation. As a result, federal policymakers have traditionally focused on commercial harvesting interests.

Dubbed the “most contemplative of pastimes,” recreational fishing provides a valuable perspective on how humans interact with saltwater environments. Fishing, Gone? builds on this tradition of reflection and opens up the saltwater sportfishing life as a method for thinking through the current status of marine fisheries and environment. Author Sid Dobrin calls on fellow saltwater anglers to reconsider their relationship to fishes and the ocean—the sport can no longer be only about the joy and freedom of fishing, but it must also be about living for the ocean, living with the ocean, and living through the ocean. It is about securing the opportunity to fish on while meeting the economic and environmental challenges that lie ahead. 

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About the author (2019)

SID DOBRIN is professor and chair in the department of English at the University of Florida, where he also serves as founding director of the Trace Innovation Initiative. He serves as chair of the American Sportfishing Association Advocacy Committee, is co-owner of, and writes regularly for several fishing magazines. He lives in Alachua, Florida.

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