Pollution. Think of all the chemicals and contaminants from our agricultural fields, industrial factories, sewage, and wastewater that drain into our groundwaters and watersheds: oil, grease, wastewater, fertilizers … All these pollutants can have devastating impacts on our aquatic ecosystems. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 40% of rivers and 35% of lakes have too many nutrients in them from farm fields. These nutrients drain into watersheds, increase algae blooms, lower oxygen levels, degrade macroinvertebrate communities, and harm aquatic life.
Climate Change. Do you use electric power? Or rely on cars to get you around places? If so, you may be contributing to the warming of the planet. These things burn fossil fuels and emit carbon gases at alarming rates, which create a “greenhouse effect”. This has led to a global warming that is changing seasonal precipitation, warming water temperatures, shrinking cold-water fish populations, and lowering our aquatic ecosystem productivity.
Declines in Biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety of organisms in an ecosystem. The more biodiversity we have in an ecosystem, the more likely an ecosystem can bounce back from natural disasters, like diseases and storms. Biologists say that aquatic organisms are more threatened than any other life forms right now, especially in freshwater ecosystems. According to scientists, freshwater species are disappearing two to five times faster than land animals! This is mainly due to the destruction of habitat.
Habitat Loss. Our industrial way of life has altered our landscape drastically in the past 300 years … The logging of forests, the spread of cities and agriculture, the development of highways and power lines … these all have contributed to the shrinking of aquatic habitats across the continent!
When looking at all the impacts we have on the planet … it’s staggering! So how can we help our environment and become better stewards for planet earth? Did you know it could be something as fun as fishing?
Fishing is not just a recreational sport you can try with your family. It also does loads for your Earth and aquatic ecosystems! Because anglers spend time with Mother Nature and receive her gifts of healthy food, they learn to respect and care for the environment where they fish. They are also the first ones to notice and report pollution or other environmental issues they see in the ecosystem. You can think of anglers as custodians or guardians of our aquatic ecosystems. Many anglers seek to protect the aquatic species they fish for and contribute to the conservation of our aquatic ecosystems. How do they do that? Every time an angler purchases fishing gear, licenses, or permits … a portion of the money is funded to aquatic fisheries and habitat management! And experts say that preventing habitat loss and restoring habitat are vital to protecting our aquatic ecosystems. So when you look at all the good you can do as an angler … it is incredibly rewarding to our environment!
So are you ready to share in the fun of family fishing and become a steward for planet earth? Well the key to being an Earth steward is to first educate yourself about your environmental surroundings. So wade into this video and explore what you can learn about aquatic habitats when crappie fishing with your family! Or dive into the lesson activity to design and craft your own panfish habitat!
For all kinds of other helpful information and resources on how kids can learn where-to and how-to go fishing, explore our companion KidsFishing.US website. To discover more about becoming a future angler, visit our educational partners that helped make this video, webpage and lesson possible by clicking on their logos below.
And if you decide to fish, you really need to get serious about being a safe angler. So take the complete online boating and water safety course using the link below.
Official Boater Safety Courses
and Boat Safety Education Materials