In all, the course covers 64 science-based best management practices (BMPs) that help reduce the environmental footprint of fishing.
The first portion of the program covers environmental ethics for anglers. In this section, anglers learn the growing need for best practices and ethical behavior while interacting with fisheries and the environment. Anglers will learn about fishing pressure, how popular species like Gag Grouper have been previously affected by pressure/management and what WE can do to help reduce the strain on heavily targeted species. There is also information on how various environments like natural reefs and seagrass flats can be impacted from careless behaviors such as anchoring on coral heads or creating seagrass propeller scars. The course addresses both those issues and more; providing best practice suggestions to boaters and anglers.
The second section of the course covers best practices when fishing. Anglers learn about conditions that can contribute release mortality and how factors such as improper handling can impact our favorite fish populations. The program provides information on how to reduce release mortality with suggestions on proper gear types, choosing the most appropriate gear and best landing/handling procedures. The module is filled with information like baitfish identification, how gills work, how to hold fish properly when snapping a photo and more!
The third lesson is an introduction to fisheries management. In this portion, viewers learn why we have fisheries management, understand who manages our state’s fisheries and what management decisions are based on. Many anglers are aware of fishing regulations but may not know why they are put into place. The module also offers information on management agencies, fisheries science tools, what is a stock assessment, population models, fisheries data and how anglers can contribute to science.