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Bureaucrats Can't Improve a Day on the Water. But they Sure as Hell Can Ruin It 


For at least the next two years, the greatest threat nationally to the future of recreational angling will come from the federal government. More specifically, it will come from Dr. Jane Lubchenco and her National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.

 If President Obama is re-elected, then that threat likely will not only persist but grow because of the structure that Lubchenco and her environmental stalwarts are putting in place. If he is not, the structure still will be there, meaning the threat will be as well, although possibly on a lesser scale.

One leg of that structure is the National Ocean Council (NOC), borne from the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. (See post below: A Ban on Recreational Fishing? Not Yet . . .)

The other is Catch Shares, a strategy that is supposed to be about conservation, but really is about federal management and control. But while the NOC would allow federal intrusion into all waters, Catch Shares is directed at marine fisheries, both commercial and recreational.

 At the American Thinker, Mike Johnson presents a revealing piece about Lubchenco, NOAA, and Catch Shares. The introduction should be enough to hook you:



I Blame Picard


This is a lionfish. The native range of this beautiful fish with poison spines is the western Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from the United States. But now it is firmly established from the Bahamas and the Keys up to the Carolinas.

 And, as the Wall Street Journal and others are reporting,  its population is exploding, as it crowds out and eats native species, including juvenile snapper and grouper, as well as parrotfish. The latter isn't important as a sport fish, but it is a vital chain in  the ocean ecosystem as its grazing keeps algae from overgrowing coral reefs.

How did the lionfish come to be in U.S. waters?




What You Can Do

If you want to help protect recreational angling, as well as your right to fish, you should join a fisheries-focused conservation organization. There is strength in numbers. As Benjamin Franklin told the Continental Congress, "If we don't hang together, we'll all hang separately."

Some good choices include B.A.S.S., Trout Unlimited, and the Coastal Conservation Association(CCA).

CCA is especially a good choice if you fish marine waters. An example of its good work is the Building Conservation Habitat Program.

Just recently Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joined CCA and Shell Oil Company in announcing a new parternship that includes recreational anglers, the state, and business. With that commitment, Shell will donate $1.5 million to CCA's program.

Independence Island in Barataria Bay near Grand Isle will be one of the first beneficiaries. Formerly one of Louisiana's most popular fishing destinations, the island lost much of its fisheries habitat to coastal erosion and subsidence. Now it will be restored.

 Jindal said, "CCA's Building Conservation Habitat Program is a long-term commitment from the angling community to the incredible natural resources of Louisiana. Partnerships like the one announced today are a critical component for helping our citizens get back on their feet after the oil spill and preserving the beauty of coastal Louisiana for generations to come."


Does Dean Rojas Work for Peanuts?



Knowing the correct answer to that question could help you win  tungsten weights and a shirt and hat autographed by Rojas from Wired2fish and Eco-PRO Tungsten.

Eco-PRO recently signed Rojas as  spokesman and designer for its line of environmentally friendly fishing weights.


A Ban on Recreational Fishing? Not Yet . . .


Through much of last year on the ESPN Outdoors website, I reported on the President's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and the threat that it poses to the future of recreational fishing. It poses that threat because it establishes a plan and a structure --- National Ocean Council (NOC) --- for federal management of coastal waters, oceans, and Great Lakes, with clear implications that authority extends to inland waters as well.

Using "spatial planning," bureaucrats will decide what uses will be allowed in which waters. In other words, recreational fishing might be an allowed use. Or it might not. Considering that this plan originated with and is being implemented by environmentalists and their supporters, many of whom are anti-fishing, the threat is very real.

In March of 2009, someone read my articles and took my concerns totally out of context. He wrote his own online article with the headline "ESPN Claims Obama About to Ban Fishing." Nothing could have been farther from the truth, but the inaccurate headline and article helped generate hysteria, with both sides hurling accusations that were untrue.

In a letter of support, Rich Holland of Western Outdoor News, said, "I want to applaud Robert Montgomery's coverage of both the MLPA (Marine Life Protection Act) and the Ocean Task Force. I have covered the MLPA since its inception."

Today, I continue to believe that the NOC poses a genuine threat to recreational angling. One reason I believe this is that those who pushed for federal "spatial planning" also were a driving force in implementation of California's MLPA. The latter now is being wielded like a club against recreational anglers.

If given the opportunity, anti-fishing groups and their allies in government will use the NOC and its National Ocean Policy the same way.

Here's the latest: According to the American Sportfishing Association, 12 percent of Southern California's ocean waters have just been closed to angling, "including some of the state's best recreational fishing areas."

No, the President isn't about to ban recreational fishing. But if he wins a second term, you can bet that  what is happening now in California will be much closer to becoming reality on many of our public waters.