Barbs and Backlashes

It Is Our Mission by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
October 20, 2009, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

So far I have not had any problems coming up with blog topics at least a couple times per week.  This one might seem a little boring at first, but follow along.

I work in the Fisheries Division of the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission.  If you search around on our website, , you will find a mission statement,

“The mission of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is stewardship of the state’s fish, wildlife, park, and outdoor recreation resources in the best long-term interests of the people and those resources.

To accomplish that purpose, the Commission plans and implements its policies and programs efficiently and objectively; maintains a rich and diverse environment in Nebraska’s lands and waters; provides outdoor recreation opportunities; manages wildlife resources for the maximum benefit of the people; and attempts to help Nebraskans appreciate their role in the natural world.”

Now you are thinking, “that is fine, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”.  But let me make a couple of points.First of all, things are different on this continent, here in the “New World”.  In North America fish & wildlife and other natural resources belong to the people.  In Europe, the “Old World”, fish & wildlife and other natural resources belong to the royalty, the gentry, to kings, queens, dukes and lords.  I make this point all the time–our fish and wildlife belong to you!  They do not belong to the government, to the state, to the state fish & wildlife agency; they belong to you.  As a state fish & wildlife agency it is our job as stewards to take care of those fish & wildlife resources for the people.

I believe this time of year is one of the most important for taking care of our state’s fisheries resources.  I do not get out in the field very often anymore, but in the past few weeks we have had fisheries crews around the state in the field sampling our fish populations.  Most of our largest, most important fisheries are sampled annually while other waterbodies will be surveyed less frequently.  Almost all of them will be sampled at least once every five years.  The data we collect from these fisheries surveys is worth its weight in gold and tells us the numbers, sizes, body condition, age and growth rates of the variety of fish species found in those waters.  That data allows us to monitor the health of those populations over time and evaluate how well our management strategies are working.  We use that information to evaluate stocking strategies, harvest restrictions, habitat improvements and every other management strategy and management objective.

Many Nebraska anglers have learned that we summarize that information to produce our annual fishing forecasts, .  As our crews finish their fall field work, they will send me summaries of their data and we will put that information into our 2010 Fishing Forecast.  We try to have that annual forecast ready by the first of the year, by sportshow season, and we will have it on our website as soon as it is ready.  Stay tuned.

I could go into more detail on how we do the fish population surveys, but let me save that for some other time.  Instead let me go back to that mission statement and make one last point.  Notice that it is our mission to “provide outdoor recreation opportunities; manage wildlife resources for the maximum benefit of the people; and attempt to help Nebraskans appreciate their role in the natural world.”  It is our mission to be good stewards of our state’s fish & wildlife, parks and outdoor recreation resources for the benefit of those resources and for the benefit of the people.  We are in the business of providing recreational opportunities.

Why do I want to take time to point that out?  We are NOY in the business of feeding people.  Harvest of fish and wildlife is an important part of managing those resources and harvest is an important component of our recreational use of those resources.  But our goal as stewards of those resources is NOT to try to produce the maximum amount of meat to feed people.  Our goal, our mission, is to provide recreational opportunities beyond the maximum production of fish flesh.

Fish are a renewable resource and we should continue the tradition of harvesting and consuming some of the fish we catch.  But in most fisheries anglers will be required to release at least some of the fish they catch because that fishery is being managed to provide a quality recreational experience more so than to fill freezers with fish fillets.  Many anglers have made a personal decision to take that one step further by releasing most of the fish they catch and even release most of the big fish they catch!

So, those are some things to think about.  If you see any of our fisheries crews in the field this fall, tell them “thanks” for their work.  Stay tuned for the 2010 Fishing Forecast.  Take some time to reflect on how much your fisheries resources and the recreational opportunities they provide are worth to you.

“Fishing is worth any amount of effort and any amount of expense to people who love it, because in the end you get such a large number of dreams per fish.”–IAN FRAZIER, The Fish’s Eye


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I appreciate your well stated position.

Once again, proving that the right person has your job!

Comment by Tim Burkhart

If you see any of our fisheries crews in the field this fall, tell them “thanks” for their work.
Well, I don’t get out into the field often either. So in case I don’t get the chance to see any “fisheries crews”, let me thank YOU Daryl… thank you for all the work YOU do, AND thank you for all the hard work that the NEFGA does to manage our fisheries! (Pass it on! )

Comment by Bob "ydoc"

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