Competitive fishing in freshwaters of North America

A survey of competitive fishing activities in Canadian and U. S. jurisdictions was conducted during the summer-autumn of 2000 and the winter of 2001. Responses to a survey involving 10 questions were received from all 62 state, provincial, and territorial agencies contacted. Respondents reported 19,371 events and we estimate that over 25,000 competitive fishing events were held in 2000. Several social and biological issues associated with competitive fishing activities were reported. Social issues included congestion at access points, safety concerns, and conflicts with non-tournament anglers. Biological issues included increased fishing pressure, initial and delayed mortality, impacts of fish relocation, and the potential transfer of exotic species. There has been an increase in the development of policies and regulations associated with competitive fishing since the last survey was conducted in 1989 and it appears that more are being planned for the future. Approximately one-half of all North American jurisdictions now have a requirement to obtain a permit for an organized competitive fishing event. Research is needed to address potential impacts and to develop best management practices for competitive fishing activities.