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Anglers, Biologists Share Information at Athens Meeting
ATHENS—Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has long recognized the fact that anglers and agency personnel have common goals and that the best way to make fishing better in Texas is to work together.
That fact, and the desire to communicate the latest information on proper fish care based on research done by TPWD biologists and others, was the motive behind a meeting held recently at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
Topics discussed at the meeting included aquatic nuisance vegetation management on Texas reservoirs, results of a TPWD study on methods of treating fish suffering from overinflated swim bladders and more. Meeting presentations can all be viewed free online at www.sdafs.org/tcafs/Angler_Bio_Meeting_2010.
The meeting was the first of its kind in Texas and featured presentations given jointly by anglers and biologists, underscoring the cooperative nature of today’s fisheries management.
“I was very pleased with the response to the meeting in regards to attendance, interaction and information transfer,” said TPWD Inland Fisheries regional director Craig Bonds of Tyler, who organized the meeting along with Tim Cook of the Texas BASS Federation Nation. “Fisheries biologists and anglers share many common interests and concerns. We all want to make fishing the best it can be, and anglers have played, and will continue to play, a significant role in improving fish habitat in Texas reservoirs and using fish-care practices designed to conserve the resource and improve fishing.”
A special treat for the 115 people in attendance was Saturday evening’s after-dinner address by professional angler Alton Jones of Waco, 2008 BassMaster Classic champion. Jones shared inspirational insights into how he approaches both life and fishing.
The meeting ended with a fishing tournament that featured demonstrations and presentations on properly caring for fish to ensure their survival.
No further meetings of the type are planned at present, but 98 percent of those completing a post-meeting survey indicated they would attend if one is held. “We hope this meeting will serve as a model for interacting with other angling constituencies,” Bonds said. Bonds also pointed to the growing importance of social media and electronic communication in facilitating information exchange among groups interested in fishing.
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