Angler advocates are fighting back against the attempted Big Government takeover of our oceans and fisheries by the Obama Administration’s National Ocean Council and National Ocean Policy (NOP).
Intent is to “zone” uses of blue water, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters, telling us where we can and cannot fish.
The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) says this about the NOP:
“Enacted by the president through executive privilege on July 19, 2010, the National Oceans Policy is eerily similar to a piece of legislation sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) that languished in Congress for nearly a decade due to overall lack of support by Democrats and Republicans in the House. After several failed attempts to get legislation (Oceans 21) passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee, a National Oceans Policy was instead enacted by President Obama through Executive Order 13547.”
On March 20, a coalition of U.S. Senators called for oversight hearings in the Senate to examine the policy that was implemented without Congressional approval. In a letter to the chairmen of several Senate committees, they said this:
"Given the many industries and issues captured by the plan and also under the jurisdiction of your committees, we would specifically like to explore under what Congressional authority the Administration has proposed this plan and, additionally, request oversight hearings on the nine national priorities listed by the plan," the letter states.
"While the policy purports to use existing authorities and funding for implementation, we are concerned the absence of Congressional oversight combined with the vastness of the proposal may lead to increased government spending and, ultimately, an expanded bureaucracy."
Additionally, 80 organizations, ranging from angling groups to chambers of commerce and energy producers, sent a letter in support of efforts by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) to call for a "pause in policy implementation" through funding appropriations towards President Obama's National Oceans Policy.
In a recent email blast to members, RFA executive director Jim Donofrio called the National Oceans Policy "a complete takeover of our state rights," which he said "should not be supported by either party.
"Some groups are hailing this executive order as a way to curb sea sprawl and regulated ocean industry, but the political reality is that this effort never made it out of a congressional committee in the first place because it essentially awarded complete control of our nation's waters to the federal government and key political appointees in the process," he said.
"If you look at the catalyst for the entire initiative, it comes from the playbook of environmental groups that think the ocean ought to be controlled by the federal government," said Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX).
"This administration is more aggressive and left-leaning, and they are going whole hog," added Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). "I think it's clearly a threat, and in terms of negatively impacting jobs, it's a very, very big threat."
What can be done about this threat?
"A lot of folks are calling us to ask what can be done to stop the National Oceans Policy. Outside of overwhelming Congressional support to slow the process through funding measures, the only political solution is to have our next president actually repeal Executive Order 13547," Donofrio said.