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Entries in fisheries conservation (6)

Thursday
May292014

Magnuson-Stevens Needs More Flexibility

“One of the key messages the Committee has heard is that while the 2006/2007 amendments to the Act were good, those requirements have been hard to achieve in some regions without significant economic pain and that some level of flexibility is necessary.”

That’s an assessment of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by Chariman Doc Hastings of Washington State, as the House Natural Resources Committee considers its reauthorization and improvement via H.R. 4742, also known as the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.

Advocates for both recreational and commercial fishing have been critical of the legislation intended to better conserve and management saltwater fisheries. They acknowledge its good intent, but argue that it has unnecessarily limited participation and harvest

“This debate today isn’t just about the use of a natural resource – it is about providing a sustainable source of protein as well as providing economic vitality to coastal communities,” he continued.

“In some regions of the country, fishing communities are struggling. A report from NOAA stated that groundfish revenues 'fell in 2012 in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island with Massachusetts and New Hampshire seeing a four-year low in groundfish revenues.'

“In New Bedford alone, the value of groundfish landed dropped from $31 million in 2011 to $19 million in 2013. The report went on to state that the number of active vessels dropped from 916 vessels in 2009 to 764 vessels in 2012 and of the 764 active vessels only 401 took a groundfish trip in 2012.

“And in the Gulf of Mexico, the recreational harvest of red snapper in Federal waters is down to just 9 days despite encouraging reports on the health of the resource.”

Go here to learn more.

Wednesday
Sep262012

Fisheries Conservation Wins in Fish-A-Thon

Participants in Recycled Fish’s 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon provided an impressive victory for fisheries conservation this year.

Forty-two teams from 27 states raised more than $20,000, while catching, photographing, and releasing more than 2,000 fish. Additionally, participants collected dozens of bags of trash from in and around the waters that they fished.

Team Playland of western Pennsylvania and Team Extreme Philly Fishing led the way in fund-raising, as they engaged in a friendly cross-state competition.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Teeg Stouffer, Executive Director of Recycled Fish (RF).

“These teams sandbagged donations until the final hours of the months-long fundraising effort. Both Team Playland and Team Philly Extreme had already raised thousands, but both began submitting hundreds of dollars in the final day and both made large donations in the final hour of fund-raising, pushing us to our highest  total in the history of the event.”

Team Playland edged Team Extreme Philly in that category, while Team J&J Kalico Kings won the angling competition, catching and releasing 126 assorted saltwater fish in San Diego Bay.

Team Extreme Philly took second place there as well. Members caught more than 500 in the Schuylkill River. White perch made up the bulk of the catch, but a mix of sunfish, catfish, juvenile striped bass and others made for a lively 24 hours of fishing  in urban Philadelphia.

“While many prizes were awarded, the real victory is for healthy fisheries,” said Stouffer.

“Already this year 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon funds have gone to help fund the installation of a fish barrier at Big Creek Lake in Iowa from Team Fishfeeder’s efforts. In Minnesota, Team Flippin’ & Pitchin’ used some of its funds to assist in the White Bear Lake Cleanup last weekend.

“Dozens of other local projects to help solve specific issues across North America will receive funding from the efforts of 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon anglers and the people who generously donated to their teams.”

Sponsor Berkley, meanwhile was “thrilled” with results, according to Roxanne Coleman, Senior Field Marketing Manager at Pure Fishing.

“The folks at Recycled Fish are making a difference. These guys work hard to encourage the rest of us to stop ignoring the environment. If you spend time in the outdoors you need to support this program.”

To learn more about the teams, the fish they caught, the funds they raised, and the prizes that they won, go here.

 

Tuesday
Sep182012

Candidates Shares Views About Recreational Fishing

Activist Angler sends a respectful “thanks” to Keep America Fishing for asking both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney how they would address fisheries conservation and angler access issues.

“We asked these questions to inform and empower anglers to be active advocates for the sportfishing community” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association.

 “Anglers represent a huge voting block that can significantly impact the 2012 presidential election. It is vital to the future of sportfishing that anglers are informed and use their vote as a voice.”

The questions addressed to both candidates are good ones. But, alas, both men (or their staffs) answered mostly in generalities and platitudes.

As you can read for yourself, neither man is an angler. But on the plus side for Romney, his vice president running mate, Paul Ryan, is an avid hunter and angler and a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.

Also on the plus side for Romney, he favors smaller government and less federal intrusion into matters that can be handled by the states. The states have shown remarkable success in managing our fish and wildlife, but Obama’s National Ocean Policy (NOP), if/when fully implemented, could end all of that for fisheries.

Of course, Obama does not view his NOP, fully embraced by preservationists and environmental groups, as a threat to recreational fishing.

“My administration is working to responsibly manage our nation's oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes to ensure that fishermen can access the local waters they care most about and that those waters support healthy, vibrant populations of fish,” he said.

But that “responsible management” includes a huge top-down management system in which federal bureaucrats tell us where we can and cannot fish.

“There has been a lot of talk surrounding the National Ocean Policy, so let me set the record straight: the new policy in no way restricts any ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes activity,” the President also said.

And, you know what? He’s right. The same can be said of California’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). It has in no way restricted recreational fishing in that state’s coastal waters.

But you know what else? Those administering the MLPA have used it to shut down fisheries. And the same almost certainly will happen with the NOP if Obama wins a second term.

On the Republican side, Romney was asked about his intent to divert fishing and hunting license fees to other programs when he was governor of Massachusetts. Not a good thing.

His answer was a good one. Here is a part of it:

“I reconsidered the decision to divert license fees after I received input from local stakeholders, both anglers and others, who expressed to me why this decision should be reconsidered,” he said.

“Once I understood what this diversion of funds will do, I reversed course and found another way to leave my state with a $2 million rainy day fund when I left office.

“This is the same attitude I will bring to the presidency. I have a plan to get this economy back on track, but I also understand the importance of hearing our state and local agencies and fishermen themselves when these types of decisions are made."

Read the full interviews here.

Thursday
Jan122012

Ultimate Sportfishing Experience in Florida Keys Could Be Yours

Activist Angler with a Florida Keys permit, quickly photographed and released.

How does a fishing trip to Islamorada in the Florida Keys sound right about now, during the dead of winter? Not something that you can afford? Just a dream during these tough economic times?

If  you’re the lucky winner in the Ultimate Sportfishing Experience, cost won’t be a consideration. You and a friend will be the guests of Keep America Fishing and GAFF Magazine for a  four-day, three-night trip to Islamorada.

Click here to enter. Or you can ”like” Keep America Fishing or GAFF Magazine on Facebook.

Here is what Keep America Fishing says about the contest, along with its mission:

“As the voice of the American angler, Keep America Fishing™ is the fastest growing community of anglers dedicated to fisheries conservation. This dedicated community is committed to keeping our public waters open, clean and abundant with fish. Keep America Fishing is proud to announce its membership is now 500,000 strong – and growing!

 “To celebrate this achievement and thank anglers nationwide, Keep America Fishing is partnering with premier coastal fishing publication, GAFF Magazine, to give away The  Ultimate Sportfishing Experience.”  

The trip for two will include airfare and car rental, resort lodging and dining, full- and half-day chartered fishing trips, fishing gear, apparel, and more.

“It has never been more important for anglers, as stewards of this time-honored pastime, to show their commitment to fisheries conservation,” said Kurt Artecona, CEO of GAFF Entertainment. “We are honored to partner with Keep America Fishing to protect the sport we love for generations to come.”

 

Wednesday
Jan112012

Izaak Walton League Celebrates 90 Years of Defending Outdoors

Long before the federal Clean Water Act was passed in the early 1970s, the Izaak Walton League was fighting against pollution and destruction of our fisheries.

The organization is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and says the following:

“Our more than 250 chapters are rooted in communities across America, meeting local conservation challenges and working to introduce youth and families to conservation and outdoor recreation. Chapter members build nature trails, restore stream banks, and plant trees.

“Many chapters are community centers for fishing and shooting sports and offer hunter education classes and fishing clinics to promote responsible outdoor behavior and activities. League chapters also award more than $125,000 in scholarships each year to college students working toward natural resource degrees. And this is just a fraction of what Ikes do.

“As the Izaak Walton League of America reaches its 90th anniversary in 2012, we encourage our members and supporters across the country to join us in celebrating the League’s tradition of grassroots conservation activism and working to ensure the health of our natural resources for generations to come.”