Today we dive into the fascinating world of fishery science and conservation with James Suleski of the Pennsylvania Native Fish Coalition. James is on a mission to bridge the gap between anglers and fisheries scientists.
We explore the intricate challenges faced by native brook trout, like climate change and the impact of invasive brown trout. Tune in to learn more about the strategies, misconceptions, and hopes for protecting these precious aquatic inhabitants.
Native Fish Coalition with James Suleski. Hit play below!
(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)
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Native Fish Coalition Show Notes with James Suleski
2:45 – James is a board member of the Pennsylvania Native Fish Coalition, where he specializes in science communication. He distills complex fishery science research into easily understandable messages for the general audience.
03:55 – Native Fish Coalition is a grassroots, donor-funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to protecting, restoring, and advocating for native fish.
04:20 – James says he’s just your regular angler who found his way into Pennsylvania’s fly fishing scene after college and grad school.
There he noticed that anglers and fisheries scientists had completely different takes on what was going on with native fish species, especially brook trout.
Native Brook Trout in Pennsylvania
06:00 – James highlights two critical factors affecting native brook trout: climate change and invasive fish species. While climate change is widely acknowledged as a significant issue, the impact of invasive species is often overlooked in discussions about brook trout conservation.
14:40 – James clarifies the misconception about the term “invasive brown trout“. He emphasizes that efforts to address this issue are not about removing them from well-known fisheries on a large scale.
Instead, it involves carefully selected smaller streams with barriers to protect native brook trout populations.
17:40 – Selective conservation efforts in smaller streams where it’s ecologically and socially feasible include stocking reform, catch and release regulations, and controlled harvest of non-native trout species.
41:00 – James remains optimistic because Pennsylvania hasn’t yet explored cost-effective management strategies. One such approach is stopping the stocking invasive trout, which has shown promise in small streams.
47:00 – James highlights Dr. Shannon White’s research on brook trout, which challenged the previously held belief that brook trout were sedentary.
58:00 – According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, roughly a third of freshwater fish are at risk of extinction.
1:00:00 – Native Fish Coalition’s strategy involves educating the public, encouraging them to reach out to legislators for stocking reforms, and fostering dialogue to promote responsible conservation practices.
Visit their website at NativeFishCoalition.org
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Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below
Native Fish Coalition Conclusion with James Suleski
We gained valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities surrounding native fish conservation. Reaching out to your local fisheries managers and engaging in discussions can make a big difference in preserving our aquatic treasures.