It goes without question that we anglers, whether we love fly fishing, offshore fishing, spin fishing, or coarse fishing, we care about our fishing waters more than your average human.
Fishing brings something to our lives that nothing else can and by doing so it creates a deep connection between us, where we fish, and the fish we intend to catch. Watching a fishery you have grown up enjoying do downhill is one of the hardest things to see but luckily, there are some great fishing charities across the world fighting to protect them.
Unfortunately, the world is becoming smaller every day, and with human populations skyrocketing, the waters we fish in and our connection that goes with them are under threat. By supporting the great fishing charities below, we can help keep them healthy for generations to come.
The Billfish Foundation
One of the most well-known international fishing charities in the world is without a doubt The Billfish Foundation. I have been a part of their tagging program since I was 12 years old and have used their systems everywhere from when fishing in Seychelles to Kenya, Madeira, Costa Rica, and more.
As the name might suggest, the Billfish Foundation is all about the conservation of billfish and their associated species around the globe with an aim to improve the health of oceans and economies that go with it, like sport fishing.
The Billfish Foundation uses a multi-dimensional approach to conserve billfish using science, research, socioeconomic, and educational avenues to protect these incredible fish species.
If you have ever been offshore fishing then chances are, no matter where in the world you did it, that the boat had a Billfish Foundation sticker on it and used Billfish Foundation tags.
Their tagging program has given the scientific world a huge insight into billfish migration and with their new satellite tagging program, they are recording better data than ever to conserve these fish for generations to come.
Not only do they do the research to find the data but also then use it to educate the sport fishing and commercial fishing fleets in order to preserve Billfish and other pelagics. They are worthy of our support and becoming a member takes just one click of a button here.
The next fishing charity we are going to look at is called Indifly, and chances are you have never heard of them unless you’re in fly fishing circles.
Indifly stands for indigenous fly fishing and that is what it is all about, in a nutshell. If you are a fly fisherman then you will know that the best fly fishing on the planet is in places where the ecosystem is as untouched by humans as possible.
Fly fishing is a very hard method to use to catch fish and you need to fish in a healthy ecosystem for it to work.
What Indifly does is empower indigenous communities to create, own, and operate fly fishing ecotourism businesses. This in turn creates a sustainable living for the community and empowers environmental stewardship as suddenly the fish are worth more alive than they are dead and sold at the market.
Indifly’s first success story is Rewa Eco Lodge in Guyana. They discovered some incredible arapaima fishing deep in the Amazon jungle of Guyana and provided the support required for the indigenous tribe to create a fly fishing lodge.
The area was under threat from logging and mining since the indigenous people had very little income. But instead of sacrificing their pristine environment to major logging and mining corporations, they now make a good living by hosting and guiding fly anglers at their lodge.
Indiflys’ aim is to repeat this across the globe and they already have sites on Anaa Atoll in French Polynesia and the Wind River Reservation in the USA.
If you love fly fishing and love traveling to remote parts of the world to do it, this is the fishing charity that is going to keep your dreams alive. You can donate to them here.
Salmon & Trout Conservation
Salmon & Trout Conservation is another excellent fishing charity that focuses its work on protecting the rivers and lakes of the UK in order to preserve the wild salmon and trout that call them home.
Salmon and trout populations, as you might know, are an indicator of the health of a river system, and a healthy system supports all the wildlife that depends on it. If trout and salmon chose not to be in rivers or die in them, then it’s a sure sign the river is in need of a lot of help.
Established in 1903, Salmon & Trout Conservation has been a major voice trying to protect the waterways of the UK. They do so via lobbying government policy, influencing industrial practices, and changing individual behaviors with regard to the health of the UK’s waterways.
All the efforts of the Salmon & Trout Conservation have given measurable results over the last 100 or so years and have led to healthier wild fish stocks, improved biodiversity, and less pollution in UK rivers, lakes, and oceans.
One of the Salmon & Trout Conservation’s major battles at the moment is with industrial salmon farming around the sea lochs of Scotland.
Atlantic Salmon are on the brink of hitting the endangered list and Scotland’s wild salmon and sea trout population has dropped by 70% since the 1970s. The sea lice and diseases created by the salmon farms are killing these wild fish and it needs to be stopped.
You can do two things to help, one is to donate here or become a member and the other is to never eat farmed salmon again. You can find wild Alaskan sockeye salmon in the shops which are both wild, sustainably fished, tastes better, and is healthier for you.
Wild Trout Trust
The Wild Trout Trust is a similar fishing charity to Salmon & Trout Conservation as they are also all about protecting wild fish in UK rivers, and thus the health of the entire ecosystem.
The Wild Trout Trust isn’t about lobbying the government, they are about getting their hands dirty and making change through practical work that will improve the habitat for trout across both the UK and Ireland.
Despite having a small team, the Wild Trout Trust manages to have a huge impact through partnerships. They work with everyone from Rivers Trusts to Wildlife Trusts, local conservation volunteer groups, fishing clubs, landowners, Government Agencies, and many more
They provide their partner with expert advice on how to improve their waters as well as assist with the practical project delivery side of things as well. This all goes hand in hand with protecting the ecosystem as if the trout are happy, the river and all the wildlife are happy too.
Everything the Wild Trout Trust does is based on scientific evidence and their approach is holistic in order to protect and improve entire habitats and ecosystems.
While they don’t lobby government policies, they do partner with organizations that do and support them with their specialist expertise which lies in key issues such as dredging, abstraction, diffuse pollution, and hydropower.
The Wild Trout Trust has over 10 current projects running across the UK and Ireland, each focusing on a specific river and improving its overall health. If you want to donate or become a member, click here.
“Fighting to halt the dramatic decline in wild Atlantic salmon stocks, the Trust is on a mission to protect this iconic species and safeguard their future.”
The Atlantic Salmon Trust exists solely for the protection of wild salmon and sea trout. It is their aim to create a positive future for these at-risk species by using scientific research to understand their decline and using their funding to put evidence-based solutions into practice.
“Wild Atlantic salmon are an iconic species with a remarkable history. They are uniquely placed to inform us of the quality of UK waters and form an incredibly important part of the ecosystem of our rivers. We cannot afford to lose them—and that’s why everything we do at the Trust is designed to put Wild Salmon First.”
Some of the projects being run by the Atlantic Salmon Trust are quite incredible, one of which includes tagging and tracking salmon and smolts as they leave river systems.
Their findings have shown that a lot of salmon and smolts don’t even make it to the sea in order to return in the years to come, and once their results are definitive, they will be able to remove the obstacles blocking their migration to the ocean.
This is just one example of the amazing work the Atlantic Salmon Trust is doing to protect these fish and the waters they swim in. The decline of Atlantic Salmon is quite a tragedy and one we can reverse. You can donate here if you would like to help.
This article only scratches the surface when it comes to all the amazing organizations out there protecting our fisheries, as there are 100s that have not been mentioned. To all of you, thank you.
It is up to everyone who has a connection to the water and what swims inside it to make a difference. Money talks and if we don’t talk louder, sooner or later some of the amazing places we call a home away from home may not be the same any longer.
Thanks very much for reading my article about fishing charities across the world. I hope you enjoyed it and found it both useful and informative. Please check out my related article on fishing with disabilities here!
Growing up fly fishing on trout streams in Kenya and the UK, Jamie has traveled the world in search of fly fishing nirvana. From his time managing bonefish lodges in the Bahamas and running fishing safaris in East Africa, all the way to guiding on the flats of Seychelles, there aren't many species or environments he hasn't experienced firsthand.