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Entries in Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (25)

Thursday
Apr052012

Do You Care Enough to Fight for Recreational Angling?

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.

*                      *                          *

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.

Friday
Mar022012

Congress Considers Pro-Fishing, Pro-Hunting Legislation

An impressive package of pro-sportsmen’s legislation is being considered in Congress. Its passage would help repel the anti-fishing and anti-fishing agenda pushed by preservationists and many in the Obama Administration.

“In the ten years I’ve been advocating for sportsmen’s issues for the CSF (Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation), I’ve never seen this much pro-hunting and fishing legislation bundled together with such a good chance of passing. This is occurring in large part due to the bipartisan leadership in the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus,” said Jeff Crane, CSF president.

Called the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012” (H.R. 4089), the package includes language that would require recreational hunting, shooting and fishing to be recognized activities on all Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands; language that would protect recreational shooting on BLM National Monuments; language to clarify that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the jurisdiction to regulate traditional ammunition with lead components and lead fishing tackle ; and, language that amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow hunters to import trophies from polar bears that were legally harvested.

Read more here.

Thursday
Feb162012

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.

Monday
Feb132012

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:

 A CONCURRENT 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.

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.

Monday
Dec192011

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.”