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Throughout Europe and the USA the principle of catch & release fishing is well-known and widely practiced. Slowly but surely the principle is gaining acceptance throughout Russia. The principle requires that regardless of appearance, size, or gender, caught fish are released unharmed back into the water. Philosophically, the act of ‘catching’ the fish becomes the goal, replacing the need to kill the fish. While the motivation was once purely ethical, there is now a proven economic imperative to support the principle. Catch & release makes it possible to give more fisherman an increased opportunity to catch a far greater number of fish. Reduction of the overall population is minimized, and the potential for fish to reproduce successfully is greatly enhanced.

The Russian Salmon Association supports all organizations that help to promote the development and popularization of recreational fishing opportunities that embrace the principle of catch & release.

Historic Background
The traditional goal of fishing was to harvest food. Over time, tackle and techniques became more efficient and effective, and with intense exploitation of fish populations and increasing depletion of the natural resources that support them, there arises a growing need for adequate regulation to ensure a balanced system. The concept of regulation and wise management is not new; in Medieval Europe minimum ‘keeper’ size regulations were enforced for certain fish species, and in some parts of ancient Russia there were restrictions on bell-ringing during the spawning season. In addition to such compulsory regulations, there are also ethical principles that help to steer behavior towards more sustainable use of natural resources.
Fishing as a Recreational Activity
We define recreational fishing as fishing with sporting tackle with the goal of pleasure rather than commercial harvest. It encompasses a range of applications, from simple pond fishing in the countryside to a dedicated visit to an Atlantic salmon camp in Canada or Russia’s Kola Peninsula.
Why Ethics are Relevant?
Ethics play a vital role in the maintenance and development of sustainable fisheries for the following reasons:
  1. Depletion of Natural Resources – The accelerated depletion of natural resources requires immediate attention. Given that it is difficult to take into account the specific requirements of every water body, and given that it is a challenge to control regulation compliance by each individual fisherman, the impact of personal ethical responsibility and prudence becomes of critical importance.
  2. Growing Popularity of Fishing as a Leisure Activity – More and more people across the cultural demographics are becoming interested in fishing. As it is nearly impossible to control the behavior of each individual fisherman, uniform acceptance of consistent ethical principles across the demographics can have widespread positive impact.

Ilya Sherbovich