No Fishing Signs
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Overfishing and lakes

You’ve likely seen plenty of media coverage on the destruction that fishing methods like bottom-trawling and seining can have on fish habitats and populations in the open ocean.

While freshwater areas including lakes, rivers and streams aren't subject to these fishing techniques, their ecosystems are far more delicate, and the fish populations are far more susceptible to the slightest change in temperature, other aquatic life or the quality or quantity of the water.

Because of that, freshwater overfishing – combined with environmental stressors – has become a worldwide problem:

- In Lake Erie, overfishing combined with environmental change caused the extinction of blue pike and the decline in whitefish, walleye and sturgeon populations, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

- In Missouri, state conservation officials recently released thousands of hatchery-raised lake sturgeon into three central Missouri rivers, in hopes of restoring the populations. While lake sturgeons were once common, they can take 25 to 30 years to reach reproductive size and age, and overfishing brought them under the protection of state laws.

- In Lake Ontario, native Atlantic salmon were once a “resource that seemed limitless,” according to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. But overfishing - combined with a loss of habitat and the construction of dams in tributaries, which prevented spawning – has nearly exterminated the species, leading non-profit and government agencies to coordinate programs in hopes of restoring the numbers.

- Lakes and reservoirs in the Philippines have seen a “minimal but consistent drop” in indigenous and endemic fish species, due to bad fishing practices and the proliferation of introduced alien species, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

- In Cambodia, illegal commercial fishing on Tonle Sap Lake - the largest lake in Southeast Asia – is causing overfishing and threatening the livelihood of local villagers.

- On Lake Malawi – an African Great Lake, the number of fishermen has increased 124 percent over the past decade. While most are competing for fish for food, the ornamental fish industry expects the overfishing could also reduce the number of wild-caught cichlids available.

- In Zambia, local women have begun growing rice on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in order to supplement the loss of food and income due to overfishing on the lake.

No Fishing Signage
Watching for and obeying no fishing signage is the best way to preserve fisheries and the natural beauty of wetlands for future generations.
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