Fish-friendly competitions: doing more than just catch-and-release

Valley ClassicIn November 2013, just before the close of fishing for the year we held our annual end of season event: The Valley Classic. What started out  is an annual informal fishing competition held among the  guides, managers and owners of Lower Zambezi Lodges has evolved into a great opportunity for the valley community of guides and managers to give something back and contribute to the protection of the amazing place that they live and work in. Each year we are amazed by the generosity of those who attend and this year we raised a staggering $10 000 for Conservation Lower Zambezi.

In 2013 the LZCRI also used the competition to demonstrate some principles for the design of more fish-friendly competition formats that integrate data collection and reduced impact on fish populations, yet still remain challenging and fun. We tested this at the competition, which in a single day of fishing added over 100 more catch records to the LZCRI catch database and showed that it’s not always about chasing the biggest tigerfish as competitors chased down as many species as possible in a challenging multi-species format.

Download the full report here or click on the link at the end of the post to find out more about how we went about designing a more fish-friendly format and also how collecting the right information in the right way can not only make for easier admin at the end of the day, but also provide valuable fishing intel for organisers, anglers and conservation.

(All Valley Classic proceeds were donated to Conservation Lower Zambezi. Thanks to all the lodge managers, guides and owners who participated in the 2014 Valley Classic and donated generously to conservation in the Lower Zambezi. Special thanks to the staff and management of Wildtracks Lodge for organising and hosting the event, Fringilla Farm for providing meat, Gwabi River Lodge for providing refreshments and Wildfly for sponsoring some of the prizes.)

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