Last week the world's preeminent coldwater conservation organization, Trout Unlimited (TU), released a nation spanning report on the state of native trout in the United States. The report reflects a remarkable shift in the vision and focus of Trout Unlimited from wild, non-native trout to native trout.
The report is sobering in its assessment of today's threats to native trout, yet optimistic in its vision for tomorrow. Paraphrasing from the report, three of twenty-eight species and subspecies of trout are extinct while thirteen species occupy less than 25% of their historical habitat. Trout Unlimited has strongly presented the case that the threats to native trout are continuing to increase rather than decrease. Threats to native trout and their habit have long been recognized and include historic natural resource practices, the indiscriminate stocking of non-native trout, and most recently climate change.
Trout Unlimited presented an eight-point strategy to protect and restore native trout throughout the United States. The strategy is ambitious and, much to TU's credit, seeks to build bridges with industries that are often vilified. Many of the points contained in the report are familiar to those who know the organization, others reflect advances in the germane fields of science, while a couple of the points reflect where the organization has fallen short and seeks self-improvement.
Trout Unlimited claims 155,000 members and notes that we are an odd bunch as well as a group that contributes tremendously to local economies through both the love of our sport and our passion for conservation. Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited, is on the mark when he describes fly anglers passion, stubbornness, optimism, and charity. The State of the Trout Report reflects not only the tremendous threats to the beautiful fish that in great measure allows fly fishing to be as much sport as art, but also the uphill battle that this generation and next must undertake if native trout are continue to be a beautiful and unique part of our world.
As I explore the report in more detail I will revisit it's substance in future blog posts.
The report can be found at- http://www.tu.org/stateofthetrout