It saddens me to read stories about how overfishing is depleting fisheries around the world. Several species are being fished to the brink of extinction. As much as it sometimes hurts to deal with new regulations around size limits, protected areas, or reduced bag limits, I’m happy to know that the sport I love is going to be around for my kids and grandkids to enjoy. Thankfully, the United States has a robust fisheries-management infrastructure, so we’re saving the resource for future generations.
Conversely, it makes me really happy to see fishery restoration successes. One example is the brook trout fishery in the Great Smoky Mountains. Read about it in this article from The Daily Times.
Fisheries Biologist Matt Kulp said a long-running restoration project to reintroduce native Southern Appalachian brook trout to several streams in the Tremont area has been going well. He expects that a proposal to reopen the area to fishing will be presented to park managers soon. “I’m very hopeful that it will reopen. There is no reason it shouldn’t at this point. I’m excited.”
In 2008, the park closed an 8-mile segment of Lynn Camp Prong, a half-mile section of Indian Flats Prong, Marks Creek and all tributaries of the Middle Prong of the Little River in order to poison nonnative fish in the streams. Park biologists used Antimycin A, a fish poison approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, to kill nonnative rainbow trout in the affected streams, which were restocked with the native fish.
Populations of brook trout are on track to surpass the numbers of rainbow trout in the streams previous to the treatment in the next year or so, Kulp said. The brook trout populations have grown despite an attempt to sabotage the project by unknown parties, who began restocking the streams with rainbow trout in the year-or-so after efforts began.
Photos: Cornell University (top); The Daily Times (above)