Do you care enough to fight for recreational angling? Or will you continue to go fishing and ignore the threat until it’s too late?
I hope that you will read what follows and then get involved. Join Keep America Fishing. Write to your federal representatives and senators, urging them to oppose the National Ocean Policy and National Ocean Council.
Get involved. Please.
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Not surprisingly, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) likes the National Ocean Policy (NOP), which would zone uses of our waters, inevitably telling anglers where they can and cannot fish.
The sad and all too predictable aspect of this support is that the NRDC tries to make the argument that the NOP “will help fishermen.” I’d have much more respect for the organization if it simply supported the Big-Government strategy and left it at that.
Instead, it uses misinformation, half-truths, and, yes, even lies to try to convince anglers to swallow the cyanide pill because it will be good for them. One of the most blatant lies from the NRDC blog is this:
“The National Ocean Policy’s development benefitted from a robust stakeholder engagement process, which included hundreds of recreational and commercial fishermen and the organized sportfishing lobbies.”
The truth is that the NOP policy was a done deal when President Obama took office in January of 2009. Environmental groups put down the foundation as soon as he was elected in November of 2008. Most everything since has been window-dressing, to make it appear as if a “robust stakeholder engagement process” has been occurring.
Certainly organizations including the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), the American Sportfishing Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and others have lobbied on behalf of anglers from the beginning, and they continue to do so. But they’re playing against a stacked deck.
Provided by RFA, here’s an example of angler “support” for the NOP, from October testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee:
40:20 - Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) provides single token letter of angler support for the executive order (implementing NOP), that of John McMurray, an advisor for Environmental Defense Fund hand-picked by Dr. Jane Lubchenco to represent New York fishermen at the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC).
1:34:10 - Rep. Don Young (R-AK) grills Dr. Lubchenco on her comments that "quite a few fishermen" support the executive order, though she's unable to produce a name except to say the MAFMC ("same one as you put catch shares involved into," replies Young.)
The only brief interruption for the Big Government steamroller occurred in the spring of 2010. Largely unnoticed, I had been writing about the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (precursor to National Ocean Council) since the previous fall, warning that it posed a threat to the future of recreational fishing for ESPN’s now defunct Outdoors website.
And that leads me to the second lie in the NRDC blog:
“Shortly before the National Ocean Policy was established, a firestorm broke out when a columnist for ESPN.com spread the unfounded rumor that the policy would close off large swaths of the ocean to fishing.”
Here is what really happened:
In March of 2010, a disreputable internet “journalist” found one of my articles and, in response, posted a piece with a headline that screamed “ESPN Claims Obama Is About to Ban Fishing.”
But I didn’t say that in any of the 10 articles on the subject that I had written to that point. And I still haven’t said it.
What I said and continue to say is that the National Ocean Policy puts into place a system that threatens the future of recreational fishing. It will be death by a thousand cuts as one fishery after another is closed by “zoning.”
Yet, that yellow journalism directed enough attention to the issue that the Obama Administration was forced to address concerns about recreational fishing. In other words, it was slowed for a time, doing damage control.
Since, the Big Government juggernaut has been rolling right along.
But with the close of public comments for the NOP implementation, pushback is occurring, both in Congress (See my previous post) and at the state level (See States Fight Back Against National Ocean Council on Feb. 13). Additionally, court challenges likely will be coming under the 10th Amendment, which preserves states’ rights.
The odds are against us, especially in the short term, but we might win this battle yet if enough anglers will fight for what they love.