Information and Education
As avid sportsmen with a combined decades of experience fishing the nations lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, and thousands of hours a year afield between us, NFC board members believe that at least some percent of sportsmen breaking the law are truly not aware they are doing so.
We say this because we have all encountered sportsmen in the field who while in violation of one of more game laws, did not realize they were until challenged. Most have stopped what they were doing without question, and many apologized and thanked us.
Some accidental violations of fishing laws is due to complicated rules, some the lack of a law book, some poor species identification, and some anglers simply and honestly did not know where they were at the time.
Our position at NFC is that proactive prevention is a far better way to deal with accidental law-breaking than reactive fines and arrests. We would rather prevent what could be a destructive and damaging act than penalize someone for perpetrating it.
NFC believes that while the laws in place may not be perfect, our wild native fish would be better off if we were able to get more people to obey these laws. No fine or arrest can undo an accidental non-native fish introduction.
This is why one of NFC's focuses is on creating signage where endangered, threatened, at-risk, or rare wild native fish population are found: It lets people know what is expected of them, and helps those who are willing to follow the rules do so.
While not as sexy as dam-removal, land acquisition, habitat restoration and reclamation, information and education is a great place to start, and in fact, the best place to start. Get these things out of the way, and you set the stage for more effective large-scale projects.
If we can prevent even one nonnative fish introduction, or protect even one rare and critically important adult Atlantic salmon, it is not only worth the effort, it is cost-effective, a great return on investment, and time and money well spent.