Activist Angler sends a respectful “thanks” to Keep America Fishing for asking both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney how they would address fisheries conservation and angler access issues.
“We asked these questions to inform and empower anglers to be active advocates for the sportfishing community” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association.
“Anglers represent a huge voting block that can significantly impact the 2012 presidential election. It is vital to the future of sportfishing that anglers are informed and use their vote as a voice.”
The questions addressed to both candidates are good ones. But, alas, both men (or their staffs) answered mostly in generalities and platitudes.
As you can read for yourself, neither man is an angler. But on the plus side for Romney, his vice president running mate, Paul Ryan, is an avid hunter and angler and a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.
Also on the plus side for Romney, he favors smaller government and less federal intrusion into matters that can be handled by the states. The states have shown remarkable success in managing our fish and wildlife, but Obama’s National Ocean Policy (NOP), if/when fully implemented, could end all of that for fisheries.
Of course, Obama does not view his NOP, fully embraced by preservationists and environmental groups, as a threat to recreational fishing.
“My administration is working to responsibly manage our nation's oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes to ensure that fishermen can access the local waters they care most about and that those waters support healthy, vibrant populations of fish,” he said.
But that “responsible management” includes a huge top-down management system in which federal bureaucrats tell us where we can and cannot fish.
“There has been a lot of talk surrounding the National Ocean Policy, so let me set the record straight: the new policy in no way restricts any ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes activity,” the President also said.
And, you know what? He’s right. The same can be said of California’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). It has in no way restricted recreational fishing in that state’s coastal waters.
But you know what else? Those administering the MLPA have used it to shut down fisheries. And the same almost certainly will happen with the NOP if Obama wins a second term.
On the Republican side, Romney was asked about his intent to divert fishing and hunting license fees to other programs when he was governor of Massachusetts. Not a good thing.
His answer was a good one. Here is a part of it:
“I reconsidered the decision to divert license fees after I received input from local stakeholders, both anglers and others, who expressed to me why this decision should be reconsidered,” he said.
“Once I understood what this diversion of funds will do, I reversed course and found another way to leave my state with a $2 million rainy day fund when I left office.
“This is the same attitude I will bring to the presidency. I have a plan to get this economy back on track, but I also understand the importance of hearing our state and local agencies and fishermen themselves when these types of decisions are made."