It is the charge of the Gulf Coast Council to both educate about and help conserve those natural resources valuable to the fly fishing experience. In doing so, the GCC works through its member clubs to conduct grass-roots based projects.
It is our job to guide requests through the GCC Board of Directors and/or on to the International Federation of Fly Fishers Conservation Committee for funding. Requests for conservation funding for such GCC club-based projects should be sent directly to Chuck Fisk, GCC VP Conservation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a few examples of conservation projects include: restoration of a public pond, stocking of a water following a fish kill, establishing youth or handicap access, fish tagging, planting or seeding of mangroves or similiar vegetation to protect against wetlands loss. Many projects can be cooperative efforts with other organizations such as the Coastal Conservation Association, Nature Conservancy or others.
NOTE: Each club can apply to receive up to $1,500 for their respective project from the IFFF, plus additional funds from the GCC. More information about Conservation grants can be found at: http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Conservation.aspx.
At the Federation's founding meeting in 1964, famed flyfisher/conservationist, Lee Wulff, presented the idea that was to become the basis of the Federation, that "a game fish was too valuable to only be caught once". The respected leaders of the IFFF realized that to preserve quality of fishing in our streams this could be met with the promotion of “Catch and Release” fishing. The public balked but slowly realized that the practice of catch and release was a useful management tool to provide better fishing for the future.
Nowadays – "Catch and Release" is a way of life and a fishing ethic that we do without even blinking an eye. The IFFF still remains the leader on this subject of why, how and when.
Basics for Fish Release
1) Use barbless artificial flies
2) Land fish quickly
3) Minimize time out of water
4) Handle fish gently
5) Back the hook out with a hemostat
6) Support fish facing the current until it swims away
|a) Minimize the time your fish is out of the water.|
b) Keep fingers away from gills and eyes.
c) Wet your hands when handling your fish.
d) Never squeeze your fish.
IFFF Native Fish Policy
Established in 2001, the International Federation of Fly Fishers' Native Fish Restoration Policy herein sets forth clear principles to enable our members, clubs and councils to speak with a consistent voice regarding proposals to restore endemic fish populations to historical habitat. A growing number of proposed restoration projects for game and non-game species challenge our ethics as sport anglers when we must choose between a popular exotic sport fishery and a conflicting imperative to restore native fish or amphibians. The policy recognizes that many proposed restoration projects are controversial among the angling community. It also recognizes that flexibility is required to handle a wide range of restoration settings and species.
Most importantly, a strong native fish restoration policy maintains and enhances the IFFF's moral authority to question and fight assaults on the aquatic environments we treasure. It affirms our support for the Endangered Species Act and all its tools for protecting vital habitat.
The IFFF Native Fish Policy Statement, which follows, describes the guiding philosophy of the IFFF towards native fish conservation. Specific Native Fish Policies have also been developed for steelhead, saltwater fishes and warmwater fishes.
To learn more: IFFF Native Fish Policy
Protect Bristol Bay
Picture a remote stream in Alaska. Grizzlies lumber over the landscape, the buzz of mosquitoes fill your ears and the river pulses a dynamic red as thousands of Sockeye return to their natal streams to spawn. This beautifully remote place, home to the world’s most productive salmon fishery, is at the mercy of becoming a massive mining district, known as the Pebble Mine.
To learn more of the IFFF's efforts to Protect Bristol Bay and Stop the Pebble Mine
Fulfilling the GCC's Conservation Pledges
The GCC Board of Directors has fullfilled our commitment to contribute 50% of the net profits from the 2014 GCC Fly Fair to the University of Southern Mississippi - Gulf Coast Research Laboratory for utilization in their conservation research, such as the GCRL Striped Bass Restoration Program.
Our check was presented to the GCRL in March 2105. (See 2015 Gulf Streamer)
We again maee a similar donation to the GCRL in early 2016 from the funds raised at our 2015 Fly Fair and will soon do so again with 50% of the funds from our 2016 Fly Fair!
For More About The GCC's Conservation Projects, See: Conservation Project Page