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Entries in Marine Protected Areas (18)


Environmentalists Want Anglers to Pay for Management of No-Fishing Areas

First, environmental groups and their allies in California state government ignored science, chose to follow a United Nations model, and closed off vast areas for sport fishing through establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Now they want to steal money from anglers and boaters to manage those areas.

“Of course, the enviro groups are all over this (Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan draft) in glowing terms about how great it is, how progressive the permanent closures are, etc.,” said Phil Morlock, Director of Environmental Affairs for Shimano.

In responding to a state request for public input, Morlock concluded with this:

“What cannot be argued is the fact that permanent MPA access closures to vast areas of prime fishing habitat have deprived anglers of access to public waters and to a public resource – fish.

“MPAs as established in coastal California are clearly not fishery management tools.

“We concur with others in the recreational angling community who maintain that anglers should not be expected or required to contribute any license, trust fund or vessel fee revenue to fund MPA management, law enforcement or any associated program in consideration of the negative impact MPA’s have caused by reducing recreational fishing opportunities.

“Those who supported these unnecessary MPA closures should be required to continue to also support their ongoing fiscal requirements.”

And here’s something that should be of concern to anglers everywhere:

The same anti-fishing zealots who closed off California waters are pushing for similar programs elsewhere, including the Great Lakes. The California MPA plan was adopted as one-size-fits all, ostensibly to “protect” habitat, even though no documented threat exists.

“It was essentially a ‘solution’ to a manufactured crisis that bypassed hard science, independent peer review, and inappropriately conjoined recreational fishing with commercial fishing impacts under the buzzword ‘overfishing,’ in the attempt to justify these closures,” Morlock said.

“From all appearances, the United Nations can’t manage a two-car parking lot effectively. Rather than encouraging them to elevate their policy to adopt the unparalleled success of the American Model of science-based fishery management and sustainable use doctrine, we continue to apply the lowest common denominator in a rush to reverse over a century of proven success.” 


Anglers Fight to Save Fishing Areas in Australia

Australian anglers are fighting to save “iconic fishing areas” from “Greens and other anti-angling groups.”

Read the story here.

And anglers in the United States should pay attention. Although much of their business is conducted in the shadows, those who want to stop us from fishing are hard at work over here. Among others, their tools are the National Ocean Council and campaigns for Marine Protected Areas, as well as attempts to ban lead fishing tackle and restrict access on the pretence of preventing the spread of invasive species.


New Hampshire Latest Front for Loon-atic Assault on Fishing

In case you missed it, preservationists and their political allies in New Hampshire are pushing for a broader lead ban as part of an ongoing campaign to restrict recreational fishing. They profess that their objective is to protect loons. It is not, as no evidence indicates that loon populations are at risk because the birds ingest lead fishing tackle.

This is part of the same offensive that includes an attempt to ban the use of plastic baits in Maine, as well as implement “marine protected areas” in the nation’s coastal waters, where fishing would not be allowed. Some also are using concerns about the spread of invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels --- real threats--- as means to force restrictions on access to inland waters. 

Recreational fishing is under assault, no doubt about it. And you can either help defend it or stick your head in the sand until it’s too late.

New Hampshire Senate Bill 89 would ban the use of any lead sinker or jig weighing 1 ounce or less. That would make use of just about any small fishing lure illegal in state waters.

Keep America Fishing makes these points:

  • This bill would expand an already restrictive policy on the use of lead jigs with no scientific data to back up such a ban.
  • The ban would have a significant negative impact on the state’s economy and fisheries conservation, but a negligible impact on the waterfowl populations it seeks to protect. In fact, New Hampshire’s loon population is increasing.
  • This ban is more restrictive than the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s levels for lead in paint, children’s toys, plumbing fixtures and non-toxic shot for waterfowl hunting.
  • Technology does not permit manufacturers to supply alternative metals 100 percent free of lead so the practical impact of the legislation is to ban all sinkers and jigs less one ounce or less.
  • This size range represents the most commonly used sinkers.

And it adds, “By banning lead completely the state is effectively banning fishing!

“Join us by signing the petition and protect recreational fishing by stopping this overly restrictive and unrealistic ban on fishing tackle!”

 Go here to voice your opposition.


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.


Dry Tortugas Protected Area Yields Benefits

Anglers across Florida are seeing more fish, thanks to the collaborative benefits of the National Park Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), according to a joint release from the two agencies.

Researchers have spent five years examining how fish and other natural resources responded to the protection offered in the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Area, a 46-square-mile area within the park. Fishing and anchoring are prohibited in the area, which was created in January 2007. Their verdict is that the collaboration “has been a success, not only to local populations of fish, but for fisheries management across Florida.”

“I believe marine protected areas should only be implemented as a last resort, but, if one was going to be implemented, this was the right place to close and this was the right place to do the research,” said FWC Vice Chairman Kathy Barco. “They did it right. They talked with the fishermen and the other stakeholders.”

Using modeling techniques, University of Miami researchers predict that the spawning groups in the Tortugas supply larvae that settle throughout Florida waters, including the Keys, the West Florida shelf, and eastern coastal areas north of Miami. Research also shows that seagrass beds in the area serve as nursery grounds for many exploited reef fish species, such as red and black grouper.

Inside the Research Natural Area, researchers found the number and size of mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, red grouper and hogfish all have increased during the past five years.

Dry Tortugas National Park is about 70 miles to the west of Key West and includes 100 square miles of marine waters and seven small islands. Congress established the park to protect and interpret the exceptional biological, cultural and recreational values of the area, including its pristine subtropical marine ecosystem and intact coral reef community.

Despite its remote location, the park attracts more than 53,000 visitors a year for fishing, snorkeling, diving, bird watching, camping and viewing Fort Jefferson.

These scientific findings are very encouraging and are exactly what we were hoping for when the RNA was established five years ago,” said Dan Kimball, Superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks.

The collaboration also brought about several advancements in mutton snapper research, including the first-ever observation of repeated mutton snapper spawning events at Riley’s Hump, a protected fish-spawning aggregation site in the Tortugas South Ecological Reserve.

Taken to­gether, the results of the five-year science review suggest that the RNA has played a substantive role in enhancing exploited reef fish species populations in the region and, especially in the case of mutton snapper, likely contributed to the recov­ery of the spawning aggregations at Riley’s Hump.

An observation from the Activist Angler: The release did not mention when or if the prohibition would be lifted in the research area.  Instead, it said this: "The FWC and NPS hope to continue this work well into the future."

I'm not suggesting that recreational fishing should be allowed right away in this case. But anti-fishing groups too often push for "marine protected areas" simply because of preservationist ideology, with no scientific rationale to justify their implementation.