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Entries in Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (23)


EPA Sides With Anglers in War Against Fishing

Wind turbines are far more dangerous to birds than is lead fishing tackle.

On the freshwater front, anglers have won another battle in the war against fishing. For the second time in little more than a year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied a petition to ban lead fishing tackle nationally.

But the Center for Biological Diversity and its anti-angling allies won’t stop. Right now, they’re challenging EPA’s denial of their first petition and, in New Hampshire, they’re trying to expand restrictions already in place for state waters.

Most common argument for a ban is that populations of loons and other waterfowl are being diminished because the birds ingest the lead. But no scientific study supports that assertion.  Fatalities occur, but they are infrequent.

By contrast, wind mills kill hundreds of thousands of birds, including eagles and other raptors, annually --- a fact that some green groups choose to ignore as they wage war against sport fishing.

From the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation:

Science has prevailed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)—an anti-sportsmen group—that would have precipitated significant restrictions on lead fishing tackle all over the United States.

The CBD wanted the EPA to use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to heavily regulate anglers from using tackle they have long used even though science doesn’t support such a measure. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been, and will continue to, fight such unscientific lead bans and restrictions at the state and federal level.

And Keep America Fishing added this:

Listening to the voices of thousands of activist anglers, on February 14, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) once again rejected the most recent petition to federally ban lead fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act. KeepAmericaFishing™ thanks everyone who took action on this important issue.


States Fight Back Against National Ocean Council

Any day now, South Carolina is going to fire a warning shot across the bow of the attempted Big Government takeover of our fisheries. It’s going to do so with a resolution “to oppose and refuse to recognize or enforce the coastal and marine spatial plans created in South Carolina pursuant to the authority of the National Ocean Council (NOC).”

“Enviros are going to hate it, but it will pass,” a source tells me.

The feds insist that regional planning bodies, assisted by the NOC, will decide how our public waters are to be used in a “bottom up” process. Supposedly, intent is to reduce user conflicts via “marine spatial planning.”

 In reality, the NOC will be a “top down” dictate of where we can and cannot fish. Aside from asserting an anti-fishing agenda, if allowed to stand, it will be an integral part of a power grab by this administration, designed to control every aspect of our lives. (Another part of that strategy is The White House Rural Council, a land-based equivalent of the NOC.)

To voice opposition for this federal intrusion and to stand up for fishermen, state Rep. Mike Pitts introduced this resolution into the South Carolina legislature.

Legislators in other coastal states likely will follow his lead. Intent is to provide a united front of states opposing the NOC, as is happening with Obamacare, the attempted government takeover of health care.

Here is the resolution:



Whereas, the National Ocean policy calls for a Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning process to regulate activities in waters owned and managed by this State; and

Whereas, Executive Order 13547 signed by President Barack Obama on September 30, 2011, circumvents Congressional action to promote a predetermined agenda of water uses; and

Whereas, the South Carolina General Assembly recognizes that without adequate scientific evidence to support Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning, this planning will have a detrimental effect on the coastal economies of our State; and

Whereas, the necessity for the zoning of aquatic uses and the existence of conflicts among uses of aquatic and coastal resources has not been proven factual; and

Whereas, the South Carolina General Assembly is uncertain that "federal, state, and tribal authorities" who are to staff Regional Planning Bodies designated to formulate Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans will adequately represent all stakeholders during the development of those plans; and

Whereas, Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning has failed to ensure the right of the public to access aquatic resources for legitimate conservation activities and recreational uses; and

Whereas, nevertheless, the South Carolina General Assembly recognizes the authority of the United States government to manage recreational fishing as a sustainable activity in federally controlled waters as stated in Presidential Executive Order 12962 as amended by Presidential Executive Order 13474, and, subsequently, the State of South Carolina will continue to manage and protect recreational fishing as a sustainable activity in any relevant conservation or management areas that fall under the authority of this State. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the members of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, oppose and refuse to recognize or enforce the Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans created in South Carolina pursuant to the authority of the National Ocean Council.


More Fishery Closures Coming in 2012 if Congress Doesn't Act

Marine anglers should get ready for even tougher times in 2012, courtesy of closures imposed by the federal government. And freshwater anglers should be concerned as well. The same anti-fishing agenda is going to move inland as well, unless we stop it.

Passage of the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA) by Congress before the end of 2011 could minimize the closures in our oceans. But, sad to say, don’t count on Congress during these times of political chaos in Washington, D.C.

“While other legislative amendments to MSA (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) have been offered to address a variety of federal fishing issues, we need Congress to understand that there is an immediate need to address the specific problem that FSIA solves,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

“Unless Congress passes this legislation before the end of this year, come January 1, 2012, anglers and commercial fishermen alike will be facing hard new annual catch limits on numerous stocks of fish that are based on nothing more than guesswork.”

Learn more about the FSIA here.

Meanwhile backlash continues against Recreational Fishing Alliance (see previous posts) for criticizing the proposed legislation.

John Mazurkiewicz, public relations counsel for Shimano and a member of ASA and many other angling groups says:

“It's not hard to see that following the lead of the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation, ASA, The Billfish Foundation, IGFA, NMMA, Coastal Conservation Association and the Center of Coastal Conservation is the right way to go.

“I applaud the efforts of those involved with these organizations --- a large number of smart people who understand all these issues and know what's best for the sportfishing industry.”

And Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano, issues this warning:

“The campaign against fishing is spreading inland to fresh water and being advanced by the same bogus rationale that the only way to ‘protect’ fish and fish habitat is to ban recreational fishing regardless of what hard science and decades of fishery management success clearly shows to the contrary.

“The recreational fishing community has been slow to recognize that we are in a North America-wide battle for the very future of our sport that will determine whether our kids and grandchildren can continue to go fishing.

“Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, International Game Fish Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and The Billfish Foundation deserve the support and sincere thanks of everyone who cares about the future of fishing.  They are all dedicated, competent and the best professional representation we have in the halls of power where many of these issues will be decided. 

“As for the very few who take gratuitous cheap shots at the efforts of these fine organizations, they rightfully deserve our contempt.”


Senate Introduces Bill to Reign in NOAA, Stop Unnecessary Fisheries Closures

Legislation has been introduced into the Senate to slow down the anti-fishing agenda of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 With its heavy-handed enforcement of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), it already has unnecessarily closed recreational fisheries and decimated coastal communities.

 The Fishery Science Improvement Act is intended to reign in NOAA by requiring management decisions to be made on sound science instead of ideology.

The bill states that if NOAA Fisheries has not done a stock assessment on a particular stock in the last six years, and there is no indication that overfishing is occurring, an annual catch limit on that stock is not required.

“The legislation is critical to sportsmen from coast to coast to coast,” said  Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “NOAA Fisheries needs this discrete legislative fix to ensure that recreational and commercial fishermen are not left at the dock because of the agency’s lack of science.”

Read more here.


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.