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Entries in EPA (32)


Anglers Win Important Election Battle in Australia

Good news for recreational fishing in Australia, as the Coalition government “swept to power in a landslide election victory.”

That’s because the Coalition seems much more rational about resource management than the previous Labor government, which was backed by anti-fishing extremists.

According to Fishing World:

“It is likely, insiders say, that the new government would favour ‘protecting what needs protecting’ but not necessarily banning fishing.

“The Coalition’s approach to marine protection is likely to be a bitter pill for the various anti-fishing groups, which have long campaigned for no compromise lockouts.”

Read the rest of the story here.

And, by the way, if you think that a similar anti-fishing movement isn’t actively campaigning to close off public waters to anglers in this country, you aren’t paying attention. The Obama Administration has especially emboldened them. Some of them are serving in it, in agencies such as the National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency. And many others are helping shape policy.


Taxidermist Mounts New Attack on Asian Carp

Taxidermist Mike Pusateri joined the battle against Asian carp when he was approached by Mike Matta, a charter captain. At an upcoming event, Matta thought that more than photos and videos were needed to drive home the threat that these invaders pose to native fisheries in the Great Lakes and other waters.

“They wanted something with impact, something physical in three dimensions to show people exactly what they were talking about with these fish,” Pusateri said. “I had never done a mount of an Asian carp – I’m not sure anyone had ever done one – but it seemed like something that was really important.”

And that proved to be the case. Pusateri since has done carp mounts for EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Sea Grant organizations, as well as many universities and state agencies.

“Maybe I became a bit of a celebrity at the taxidermy conventions, but I’m just hoping my work will help combat the problem,” Pusateri said. “When I talk to the fisheries guys, they seemed stumped by this problem, and kind of scared by it. They say these fish eat so much that the other species just die out.”

Read more here.


Inactive Anglers Are Embarrassment in Fight for Bristol Bay and on Other Issues

Sadly, environmentalists and fishermen, who are conservationists, don’t have much in common these days. That’s because of much of the environmental agenda is inherently anti-fishing. 

Much of that stems from enviros refusal to differentiate between recreational fishing and commercial fishing.

As a matter of fact, anglers were among the first “environmentalists” because of their concern for clean water and healthy fisheries. Today, they contribute hundreds of millions of dollars annually for resource management through license fees and excise taxes on fishing tackle. And, unlike commercials, they keep only a tiny fraction of what they catch.

But stopping Pebble Mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay is one thing that enviros and anglers--- both recreational and commercial-- agree on. Its creation would lead to the devastation of one of the world’s few remaining unspoiled salmon fisheries.

More than 925 angling and hunting groups, as well as related businesses, now are on record as supporting EPA’s assessment of the danger and asking that agency to take the necessary steps to deny permitting for the mine.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post newspaper reports the following:

“Almost all the comments urging the EPA to block the mine have been generated by major environmental groups . . .

“The Natural Resources Defense Council produced 83,095 comments, more than any other group in favor of EPA action, while the Pew Charitable Trusts came in second with 41,158 comments.”

Now here is where you come in. You have until June 30 to voice your opposition to the mine. Go here to do so, and, in the process, enter a contest to win a fishing trip to Bristol Bay.

Thus far, the enviros have done most of the heavy lifting in producing comments. As of May 18, only about 6,000 sportsmen had participated.

In a nation where 60 million people describe themselves as anglers, that’s beyond pathetic.

“Sadly, fishermen have lagged, but not by any lack of effort,” said Scott Hed, director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. “Keep America Fishing sent out two notices to their massive list. Many other groups and businesses sent action alerts and posted to their Facebook groups, whose collective number of followers is in the millions.”

So, what all of this tells me is that sometimes enviros and anglers can agree on an issue, and that’s a good thing. Maybe one will lead to more.

But it also suggests that we’re going to lose when we oppose them on any issue that requires grassroots support. Almost certainly we outnumber them, but too many anglers are content to just go fishing and leave standing up for our sport to someone else.

Mark my words: Eventually, that’s going to bite us in the butt big time.


EPA Confirms Threat that Pebble Mine Poses to Alaska Salmon 

Those fighting to protect one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries are pleased with a recent assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Basically, the EPA found that, even without a major disaster, the proposed Pebble Mine would destroy up to 90 miles of salmon streams and up to 4,800 acres of wetland salmon habitat in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

“The science is clear: developing Pebble Mine will harm salmon and destroy streams even if nothing ever goes wrong at the mine,” said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program.

“Pebble is far bigger and more threatening to renewable resource jobs than any other mine proposal in Alaska and it’s planned for the worst location possible: the headwaters of Bristol Bay.

"Clearly, the time for action to protect Bristol Bay under the Clean Water Act is now.”

Save Bristol Bay adds this:

Anglo American, a foreign mining company of luxury metals with a record as one of the world’s biggest polluters, forms half of the Pebble Limited Partnership, which has said it plans to file a permit application for the mine this year. Its partner, Northern Dynasty, filed detailed plans with the SEC to build North America’s largest open-pit mine and the world’s largest earthen dam in Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to America’s most productive salmon streams.

Several representatives from the Save Bristol Bay Coalition were in Washington this week to urge the EPA to quickly release its updated draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. They are part of an unprecedented, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, more than 900 hunting and fishing groups and businesses, 26,000 retail food stores, 225 chefs and restaurant owners, and 22 jewelers like Tiffany and Co. that believe Bristol Bay should be protected.

Nearly 60% of Alaskans and 80% of Bristol Bay residents oppose the construction of Pebble Mine, particularly Alaska Natives who fear the destruction of their 8,000 year-old culture.

Go here to learn more about the assessment and comment.


PFBC Looks to EPA to Help Save Susquehanna Smallmouth Fishery


A “perfect storm” of stressors is destroying one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the nation. Algae blooms, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and pollutants annually decimate young-of-the year bass, leaving the Susquehanna River with a steadily declining number of big fish and little recruitment to replace them.

Since the first disease outbreak in 2005, biologists with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) have been studying the problem on the river that flows from Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, N.Y., to Chesapeake Bay, draining about half of the state’s land area. Their conclusion: The problem is too complex for them to solve without additional help.

“That’s why we’re trying to convince the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to put the Susquehanna on the (impaired waters) list,” said John Arway, PFBC executive director.

Despite the Susquehanna’s biological and recreation impairment, the state Department of Environmental Protection decided not to include the river on the list, forcing the PFBC to look elsewhere for help.

 “We’ve also had meetings with our members of Congress,” Arway said. “This is extremely important. If the river goes on the impaired list, then there’s a time clock to fix it. But that clock doesn’t start until the problem is formally recognized.

"Putting it on the 303D list would mean that there’s a plan and we’d be eligible for grant money and we could prioritize how to spend it.”

The PFBC has support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its campaign. In a letter to the EPA, Region 5 Director Wendi Weber wrote the following:

“We concur with recent scientific assessments that indicate a chronic problem exists with recruitment of smallmouth bass in the river.

 “We are also concerned with the recent rise in reported skin lesions on bass, as well as emerging evidence of inter-sex, possibly caused by endocrine disruption compounds in the water. The Service believes the suite of warning signs exhibited by the smallmouth bass population is cause for careful and thorough assessment of environmental conditions in the river. While exact linkages and root causes seem to remain unclear, we believe the evidence suggests that environmental stressors are affecting the biota in the river.”

And just how much have those environmental stressors impacted smallmouth bass? “We’d typically get 1 ½ to 2 good years for every 1 bad year (of reproduction). Now, we will be lucky if we get 1 out of 8,” said Geoff Smith, a biologist who has studied the river.

He added that the number of adult fish in the river “has plateaued to low densities historically.”

 “As the older fish die of old age, we’re not seeing the recruitment we need to replace them,” Arway said

He points to dissolved phosphorus in the river as a “principal stressor.” Right at the time bass are born, he added, “We’re seeing blooms of nuisance algae from the west shore to the east shore.”

That results in low dissolved oxygen, which in turn, compromises the immune system of young bass.

“We need to trace it (phosphorus) to the source,” Arway said. “We need to know where it comes from. That’s why we need to be on the 303D list.”

Additionally, biologists have identified these contaminants in the river that could cause endocrine disruption:

Thirteen flame retardant compounds, 2 personal care products (triclosan), 14 organochlorine pesticides, and 9 other pesticides.

They’ve also confirmed Largemouth Bass Virus.

“That’s not likely a factor (for abundance). But just carrying that virus might add to the stress,” Smith said.

Possibly most disturbing, though, is that similar problems with smallmouth recruitment now have spread into the Susquehanna’s tributaries and even outside of the basin, to the Allegheny and Delaware.

Anglers, meanwhile, “were madder than a hornet’s nest for a time,” Arway said. That’s because the PFBC implemented mandatory catch-and-release for the middle 98 miles of the Susquehanna and prohibited targeting of bass on nests from May 1 to June 15.

“But now they understand and they’re behind us. They’re working with us,” the PFBC executive director added.