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Native Fish Coalition

PostPosted: October 23rd, 2017, 8:10 pm
by Rusty Spinner
There's a new organization formed to address critical native fisheries issues throughout the nation with an eye towards native salmonids.

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From their site: The Native Fish Coalition is a grassroots donor-funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation, preservation and restoration of native fish. While most of our members are avid fly anglers, our focus is not limited to so-called “gamefish.” We are primarily – but not exclusively -- focused on salmonids, and the reason for this is twofold: Salmonids are often the species that are most threatened, and what is good for these native “indicator species” is good for all native fish.

It is the belief of the Native Fish Coalition that no stream, river, pond or lake is truly healthy or “restored” until its full complement of native species is intact and it is devoid of non-native species and hatchery-raised fish. Clean water and healthy riparian zones are a necessary foundation for establishing healthy ecosystems, albeit not an absolute indication of overall ecological health. While the complete restoration of native species assemblages is not always attainable, it is our goal.

Our purpose for forming the Native Fish Coalition is to address issues that often fall through the cracks, work alongside like-minded entities to best utilize our unique skill sets and resources, help push for meaningful reform even when that means challenging the status quo, and try to bridge the gap between fish and water conservation organizations. We are part of a small but rapidly growing group of like-minded advocates who hold a shared vision: To protect, preserve and restore our native fish. That shared vision and the structure of the Coalition allows us to achieve consensus and act quickly and decisively to protect this invaluable and irreplaceable resource.

The Native Fish Coalition sees no issue as too big or too small, too easy or too challenging. Our approach is data-driven and our strategy is to use information and education, habitat restoration and enhancement, reclamation and regulations to promote complete and long-term solutions. While concessions are sometimes necessary, we will not agree to ineffective or dangerous compromises, quick fixes or temporary solutions. We see education, hands-on work, funding of worthwhile projects, negotiation, public advocacy and legislation as important tools for achieving our objectives.

To accomplish our goals, we have embraced experienced independent advocates who have dedicated themselves to understanding the many threats facing our native fish and the most effective ways to combat those threats. It is our intent to find common ground wherever possible and work with as many organizations, government agencies, businesses and clubs as we can. If you feel as we do, we would greatly appreciate your support. No donation or offer of help is too small or too large.

Re: Native Fish Coalition

PostPosted: October 23rd, 2017, 8:13 pm
by Rusty Spinner
State chapters are being formed with several in place currently and several more in the works. Please feel free to contact me for more information or if you are interested in forming a NJ chapter. Today I accepted a role as their fish habitat expert on their national Advisory Council. This organization fills a void that other conservation organizations don't always fill as its focus is only on native fisheries and not wild, but introduced fish like brown trout for example.

Re: Native Fish Coalition

PostPosted: November 20th, 2017, 10:17 am
by Rusty Spinner
Check out the new website, they did a nice job with it:

Re: Native Fish Coalition

PostPosted: November 22nd, 2017, 4:33 pm
by NJpatbee
I am in favor of the organizations mission statement and spend most of my fishing time chasing wild brookies. But I do not support approaching all waters with the concept of removing all non-native species. This may be effective in some waters and I understand it, but in NJ and much of the Northeast there are certain waters that are well suited to non-native trout (browns and rainbows) and wild populations have existed for many decades. At times browns have replaced the brookie is some waters where the brookie was flourishing which was a mistake - a good example is the Letort Sping Creek where 5+ pound brook trout were not unusual. Since the introduction of the brown trout the brookies are all but gone. At the same time fishing for difficult rising browns on the Letort has become a tradition and part of our Eastern trout fishing lore.

Closer to home, take the upper portions of the South Branch of the Raritan River. In some areas there are plentiful wild brookies alongside wild browns. I could not support eliminating the brown trout population on this water since the native brookies seem to be doing quite well. And what about all the sections of waters that support year round populations of rainbows and browns but are not suitable for brookies? On one WTS I frequent there are plenty of brookies in the upstream section with natural barriers protecting the brookie population from wild brown trout in the lower section. The browns have developed a certain look with bright orange spots that I have leaned to appreciate feel at home with. I would not want to see the brown trout population eliminated.

I may have misread the mission statement but it struck me like an all or nothing approach. I believe in supporting native trout populations but also feel that each water has to be reviewed on an individual basis.