Anglers Launch New Campaign as Climate Change Threatens Recreational Fishing

Jeff Norman

A new report written for anglers by anglers serves as a call to arms to galvanize the angling community to demand action as climate change disrupts fishing experiences coast-to-coast

MAY 14, 2024 WASHINGTON – Today, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) released a report written for anglers, by anglers, to kick off a nationwide campaign to inspire and empower anglers and the recreational fishing industry to demand progress toward climate-ready fisheries. The report, titled “For Tomorrow’s Fish: Anglers Are the Key to Climate-Resilient Fisheries,” documents how climate change is disrupting fishing experiences and explores how anglers are best positioned to call for climate-resilient fisheries that are healthy, sustainable, and abundant.

“This is a call to arms for an angler-led movement that can help turn the tide and protect the future of fishing,” said Lucas Bissett, Executive Director of AFFTA. “From changing habitats to shifting fish populations and behavior, we can’t ignore the realities we’re seeing out on the water. As long-time stewards of our country’s waterways who are seeing these impacts firsthand, anglers have the power to make a real difference in the fight for climate-resilient fisheries – for our sport, way of life, and industry.”

There is a long legacy of shared responsibility among anglers to protect the ocean’s health, our rivers and streams, and other vital marine habitats. The report highlights how anglers, who are witnessing the impacts of climate change day to day, are uniquely in tune with the realities occurring on their fishing grounds and possess specialized knowledge that can provide insights for adapting and managing U.S. fisheries to account for climate change.

The report details how climate change affects fish behavior, abundance, productivity, and habitat, disrupting the success and sustainability of fishing experiences coast to coast. Sea level rise and warming waters are pushing essential fish habitats to the brink, destroying places legendary sportfish need to survive. Some fish are more abundant in certain areas and obsolete in others, directly impacting the success and sustainability of fishing experiences.

Communities that rely on fishing-related activities are experiencing extreme weather, stronger, less predictable storms, and flooding that are damaging critical fishing and coastal infrastructure like docks, boats, local businesses, and coastal roads and neighborhoods. These climate impacts are posing never-before-seen challenges for anglers, such as declines in the availability of baitfish, productivity of fish populations, and habitat health. Fishing experiences are suffering as a result, meaning long-held fishing traditions and opportunities for future generations of anglers are at risk.

The report is supported by over two dozen leading outdoor brands and organizations, such as Orvis, Patagonia, Far Bank, Mayfly, Bajio, and more. Its release kicks off the For Tomorrow’s Fish campaign, which will elevate anglers’ voices and empower them to demand progress toward climate-resilient fisheries.

Download the report here.

Download the one-pager here.

For more information, visit www.tomorrowsfish.org.

About AFFTA:

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association and its conservation arm, the AFFTA Fisheries Fund, represent the community of fly-fishing businesses aligned around the sustainable growth of fly fishing, a commitment to conservation, and policies that support a thriving industry. As a trade association, AFFTA helps fly fishing businesses collaborate, coalesce and concentrate on issues facing the industry.

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