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Entries in Keep America Fishing (54)

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.

Friday
Sep142012

Encourage Your Senators to Support Sportsmen's Act of 2012

Your U.S. senators are expected to vote next week on one of the most comprehensive packages of sportsmen’s legislation in years. Please go here to encourage their support.

“This historic legislation provides for increased access, habitat conservation, and improved fish and wildlife management,” says Keep America Fishing.

Introduced in September, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 includes 19 bills that will benefit sportfishing, as well as hunters and recreational shooters.  It originally was proposed as an amendment to the Farm Bill, but was appropriately ruled non-germane to that legislation.

Now Sen. John Tester of Montana and eight other co-sponsors have introduced this bi-partisan legislation as a stand-alone bill.

Some of the specifics are as follows:

Making Public Lands Public Act – Increases access for angling, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands by directing 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure access to fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.

The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act – Blocks ongoing attempts to federally ban lead in recreational fishing equipment and ammunition by amending the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Billfish Conservation Act – Conserves declining billfish populations by prohibiting the commercial sale and importation of billfish throughout the U.S., with exceptions for Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Area islands to preserve traditional fishing practices.

National Fish Habitat Conservation Act – Authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to conserve, restore and enhance fish habitat on a range-wide scale.

Artificial Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico – Requires the Department of the Interior to coordinate federal and state efforts in order to maintain idle drilling platforms as valuable artificial fish reefs.

Thursday
Sep132012

Anglers Win, Lose in California

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) reports good news and bad news from California.

The good news is that strong resistance from California’s recreational fishing community forced lawmakers to remove provisions from state Senate Bill 1148 that would have been devastating.

“Initially introduced into the California legislature to improve how the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) functions, the bill was hijacked by anti-fishing groups and would have striped the DFG of its authority for fishery management in marine closures and placed authority of marine closures in the hands of the Ocean Protection Council, a body effectively controlled by anti-fishing groups who would seek ever greater closures,” ASA says.

“This significant threat was averted thanks to the thousands of anglers who made their concerns known to their legislators through Keep America Fishing.

The bad news: Despite strong opposition, a bill --- AB 2402 --- did pass that will allow private organizations to directly fund programs within DFG. that's an open invitation for corruption and management of public resources by special interests.

See my post from Aug. 12 --- Anti-Fishing Groups Attempt Power Grab in California --- to learn more.

Tuesday
Sep112012

Recreational Fishing Threatened in Australia

Recreational fishing in Australia is perhaps even more imperiled than it is in the United States.  Down under, officials are considering a Marine Reserves Network, which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) says “would close millions of miles of water to fishing and boating.”

In response, Australia’s anglers and fishing industry have formed Keep Australia Fishing, similar to our own Keep America Fishing. A “Don’t Lock Us Out” campaign generated nearly 10,000 submissions to stop the reserves network.

But Keep Australia Fishing warns, “The fight is not yet over. There is still a long way to go on fighting the government’s decision.”

Anglers in the United States would do well to check out the Keep Australia Fishing website to learn what will be coming our way if President Obama wins re-election and continues implementation of the National Ocean Policy (NOP).

The NOP will “zone” uses of our waters, telling us where we can and cannot fish. And you can bet that preservationists, both within the administration and in environmental groups, will have a seat at the “big table” as those zoning decisions are made.

Thursday
Aug162012

Anti-Fishing Groups Attempt Power Grab in California

Based on the Civil War, states aren’t allowed to secede. But I’m wondering if we can evict them.

If so, I’d like to start with California. Considering what’s happening out there right now, on so many fronts, it would be best to become 49 states before the rest of us are further infected with Left Coast insanity.

That’s especially true for management of natural resources, including fisheries.

First, California enacted the Marine Life Protection Act. It has resulted in recreational fishing being banned --- with no scientific justification --- in many of the state’s coastal waters. And it serves as the perfect example of what the Obama Administration hopes to achieve with its National Ocean Policy.

Now, incredibly, the California legislature is considering two bills that would allow California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to partner with well-financed nonprofits, many of which have made it their mission to end recreational fishing.

Not coincidentally, these bills also would take away the Fish and Game Commission’s regulatory power over marine protected areas and listing of threatened and endangered species and give it to the now-compromised DFG. In effect, the nonprofit, anti-fishing groups would control fisheries management.

“This could result in nonprofit partners making important decisions that further limit fishing access to public waters without any public forum or transparency in the process,” according to Keep America Fishing (KAF)

The bills originally were intended to improve how the department operates. “But special interest groups have succeeded in amending the bills to include provisions detrimental to anglers,” KAF added.

And the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans says this:

“SB 1148 and AB 2402 were strategically designed as companion bills to deny California’s recreational anglers a voice in fisheries management and conservation. These bills remove an important part of the checks and balances that are integral to the policymaking process, and grant unaccountable department employees unrestricted powers currently reserved for the California Fish and Game Commission.

“The Commission is a body represented by members of the public appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the California State Senate. Through monthly meetings and extensive public review processes, the Commission operates in a transparent manner and its members are accountable to the public.

“Should this power grab occur, recreational anglers and boaters will no longer have a public forum at which to petition their government on controversial issues such as Marine Protected Areas, fish stocking regulations, endangered species and other issues that have a profound impact on sportfishing.

“These two bills combined make significant changes to the mission and scope of the DFG, and reduces the transparency and openness of the Department.”

If you’re a California angler, go here to oppose this power grab by anti-fishing groups.

And if you live in another state, be warned: What starts in California eventually will threaten your fisheries as well.