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  • The Philosophies of the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance

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    Autumn on the Fox River in Batavia

    1. We affirm the value of smallmouth bass fishing and the right to continue to enjoy and participate in that heritage.
    2. We strongly affirm the value of catch-and-release smallmouth bass fisheries and all practices that limit stress to fish during capture, handling and release. We chose to release our catch to minimize negative effects on the species and to help ensure the quality and survival of the fish and the fishery into the future.
    3. We appeal to all fishers to limit their impact on natural populations of smallmouth bass and other species to the point that those populations are safe, healthy and stable according to the best scientific information available.
    4. We support smallmouth conservation and fisheries inside their native range and do not support smallmouth fisheries outside their native range. Some rivers are historically smallmouth habitat and some rivers are not. The native smallmouth bass range is defined as lakes, rivers and drainages containing smallmouth bass in pre-European settlement conditions. Natural range expansions are accepted and welcomed as the normal functioning of ecosystems. Human-induced expansions of this range or expansions due to reduced water quality from anthropogenic activity are viewed as negative events given that they can impair or extirpate other species inside their native ranges.
    5. We affirm that smallmouth bass with unique genetic histories should be preserved as part of the heritage of the species, and for the genetic resources they represent to meet future environmental challenges.
    6. We affirm that where possible, smallmouth fisheries should be supported by natural reproduction within their native range. The stocking of fish reared in artificial or aquacultural environments into natural ecosystems should be limited to areas where habitat is limiting or where unique populations may be at risk and no obvious alternatives exist.
    7. We affirm that smallmouth bass conservation activities should be undertaken in light of the integrity of populations of other species and ecosystems in an area. Propagation or enhancement activities that might threaten the survival other native species or ecosystems are not supported.
    8. We affirm the precautionary principle, choosing first to do no harm and seeking thorough, careful, scientific guidance to evaluate the impact of new technologies, activities or approaches to natural resources before embracing them.
    9. We support access for anglers to public resources and we support projects, regulations and legislation that protect and enhance that access.
    10. 10. We affirm the right of private property and respect the rights of owners of that property.
    11. We support habitat enhancement designed to sustain natural processes that have historically supported smallmouth bass and their accompanying species within a watershed.
    12. We support technologies, legislation and mitigations leading to reductions in point source and non-point source pollution and likely to enhance the growth, density, and sustainability of smallmouth bass populations.
    13. We support the removal of low-head dams wherever data is available to indicate riverine habitat improvements will result from that removal.
    14. While recognizing the importance of agriculture and the need for infrastructure to sustain this industry, we support efforts to avoid or undo channelization and other channel modifications that impair riparian and smallmouth bass habitat. We further support efforts to find common ground between agricultural interests and anglers to enhance the value and function of rivers and lakes in agricultural landscapes.
    15. We support marketing activities designed to enhance the sport of recreational fishing where that marketing is targeted toward responsible angling and conservation that does not threaten the diversity, sustainability or aesthetics of natural resources.
    16. We support reservoir fisheries for smallmouth bass where those reservoirs are in the native range of smallmouth bass. We do not support the creation of new dams on permanent waterways for the purpose of recreational fisheries.
    17. We support research and data gathering efforts that enhance the understanding of smallmouth bass biology and the biology of species and ecosystems that have historically sustained or coexisted with smallmouth bass.
    18. We support measures designed to prevent, contain, mitigate or eradicate exotic species that threaten smallmouth bass or the systems they inhabit. We do not support control measures that represent a significant threat to the continued survival of native species.
    19. We support governmental agencies and their enforcement of creel, seasonal, and site-specific regulations and profess a desire to work with those agencies to meet future regulatory challenges.
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