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« Many Fisheries Are Well Managed and Sustainable | Main | Utah Enacts Catch-and-Kill for Bass, Other Invaders in Some Waters »

House Members Seek to Shut Down Catch Shares, Protect Recreational Fishing

Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) have sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, opposing new Catch Share programs for the Gulf of Mexico.

“If enacted, this (Catch Shares) could have a crippling effect on recreational angling along the Gulf Coast,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), which works closely with the CSC on issues of concern for anglers and hunters.

Signed by 23 members of the House, the letter requests that language be used to restrict new Catch Share programs for Gulf fisheries in the fiscal year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Just a few days before, other CSC members sent a similar letter for Atlantic fisheries.

“Just as members who have Atlantic coastlines in their districts desire to keep new job-killing Catch Shares programs from being implemented, so too do we, the undersigned Gulf coast members desire to prevent new Catch Share programs from wrecking our costal economies,” the letter says.

“We are alarmed by the crippling job losses experienced along Atlantic Coast as a result of these Catch Share programs. A similar disaster can be avoided in the Gulf of Mexico by preventing the establishment of new programs in our region until several conditions have been met, including requiring the use of better scientific research and data collection from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and economic impact statements.

“These tools are necessary to accurately measure the economic impact of Catch Share programs, and we believe it is in the best interests of our coastal industries to restrict funding for Catch Share programs until these common sense conditions are met.”

Since she took over NOAA in 2009, Jane Lubchenco, along with her friends in the Environmental Defense Fund, have been determined to implement Catch Shares, a scheme for limiting access and turning a public resource into a commodity managed by the federal government, in which only a few favored interests benefit.

By the way, the CSC and the CSF are possibly the best friends that anglers have these days in Washington, D.C. Check out the CSF website to learn more.

“We are in a sustained fight for survival of our outdoor heritage. One does not win a fight by backing up, and this is why we have such strong respect for CSF. They don't compromise our basic interests,” says Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.

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