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Entries in recreational fishing (89)

Tuesday
Oct032017

Challenge Takes Bite Out Of Lionfish Threat To Fisheries

Recreational participants removed 8,901 lionfish, and  commercials took 15,800 pounds (about 17,420 lionfish) in the 2017 Lionfish Challenge, sponsored by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). That's 26,321 exotic predators eliminated.

Ken Ayers Jr. of Panama City took home the recreational Lionfish King award with a total of 1,250 lionfish harvested. Joshua Livingston of Destin became Florida’s first Commercial Champion for his efforts in removing 4,560 pounds of lionfish (poundage equates to about 5,027 fish). On top of other prizes earned throughout the Challenge, the two winners were presented with a custom-made Fish Bone Design trophy and a “No Shoes Reefs” Engel 85 cooler.

A total of 120 recreational and commercial harvesters participated in the statewide lionfish removal incentive program, which ran from Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day May 20 (first Saturday after Mother’s Day annually) through Sept. 4.

FWC's partners in this effort included  34 dive shops that served as checkpoints for recreational submissions, as well as Engel Coolers, ZombieStickz Lionfish Eliminator and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

"While this year’s Lionfish Challenge may be over, there are still plenty of other great programs that encourage lionfish removal," FWC said.

Check out the new  Reef Rangers website, which launched in early September. Participants who adopt a reef soon will receive a Reef Rangers Lionfish Control Team T-shirt and tank sticker.

Learn more about lionfish  at MyFWC.com/Lionfish.

Sunday
Sep172017

Sports Fishing Strengthened by Increases in Participation, Spending

Fishing participation is up nearly 20 percent during the past 10 years, according to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), citing the recently released 2016 National Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation national survey from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Conducted every five years in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, the survey also shows that anglers increased their overall spending by 2 percent during the past five years.

“Dedicated efforts by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), state fish and wildlife agencies, the recreational fishing industry and independent programs have made increases in recreational fishing possible,” said Glenn Hughes, vice president of Industry Relations for the ASA.

“Thanks also goes to ASA’s Government Affairs team and our partners who helped ensure that legislation and policy decisions were in place to provide access, clean water and fisheries conservation, which anglers need for a successful day on the water.”

Overall, fishing participation increased 8.2 percent for individuals 16 to 65 years of age during the last five years. This is the highest level of participation since 1991. Revenue from equipment purchases to all trip expenditures  increased from $45 billion to $46.1 billion during the same time.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

“Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage. As a kid who grew up hunting and fishing on public lands who later took my own kids out on the same land, I know how important it is to expand access for future generations. Many folks east of the Mississippi River rely on friends with large acreages or pay high rates for hunting and fishing clubs. This makes access to wildlife refuges and other public lands more important."

Encouraged by the findings, RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson said, “We’re excited to see the fruits of our efforts to increase fishing and boating participation validated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s latest report –  a true benchmark of the industry.

“The results of this report show that RBFF has had a positive impact on participation since its inception, and we only plan to build upon these numbers.”

 ASA has developed tools and materials for the recreational fishing industry to further assist in the effort. The emphasis is on effectively reaching anglers through recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) practices. Several state agencies and industry partners are already implementing these R3 practices to help achieve 60 million anglers during the next five years.
 
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources

Tuesday
Jul112017

Modern Fish Act Introduced in Senate

The recreational fishing and boating community praised the Senate introduction of the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” (Modern Fish Act), which would improve public access to America’s federal waters, promote conservation of our natural marine resources and spur economic growth.

A companion bill, H.R. 2023, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6.

“On behalf of America’s 11 million saltwater anglers, we thank Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.),” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.

“Recreational fishing is a tradition worth safeguarding through proper management policies and a critical component of the U.S. economy, with an annual economic contribution of $63+ billion. With a bipartisan bill introduced in both chambers, we are hopeful the Congress will ensure all Americans have fair and reasonable access to our nation’s marine resources by passing the Modern Fish Act.”

 For years, the recreational fishing community has been hindered by antiquated policies that restrict access to public waters, hurt the U.S. economy and detract from conservation goals. The Modern Fish Act addresses many of the challenges faced by recreational anglers, including allowing alternative management tools for recreational fishing, reexamining fisheries allocations, smartly rebuilding fish stocks and improving recreational data collection. The bill aims to benefit fishing access and conservation by incorporating modern management approaches, science and technology to guide decision-making.

"When passed, this landmark legislation will modernize the federal regulations governing access to the public’s natural resources by boaters and anglers,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich.

“The Modern Fish Act will achieve many goals, the most important of which is getting more Americans outdoors and enjoying our wonderful natural treasures,” added Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association.

“This bipartisan legislation includes key provisions that will adapt federal fisheries management to manage recreational fishing in a way that better achieves conservation and public access goals. Recreational fishing provides many economic, social and conservation benefits to the nation, and with this legislation, the federal fisheries management system will better realize those benefits.”
  
“The Modern Fish Act offers reasonable solutions to a management system designed primarily for commercial fisheries but which has failed to address the needs of millions of saltwater anglers,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “The simple adjustments in this bipartisan bill would continue to ensure conservation of our nation’s saltwater fisheries, while finally establishing greatly needed parity for the recreational fishing community.”
 
“The Modern Fish Act would fix key issues in the law governing marine fisheries that keep recreational anglers from enjoying access to healthy fisheries,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
 
The coalition supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Thursday
Jun292017

Council Appointments Show Recreational Fishing, Boating Priorities for Trump Administration

Members of 2017 Regional Fishery Management Council confirm that recreational fishing and boating are important to the Trump Administration, according to advocacy groups.

“Today’s appointments to the Regional Fishery Management Council are exactly what the recreational fishing and boating community needed from the Trump Administration,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.

“America’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers have been an afterthought for too long, but thanks to the leadership of President Trump and Commerce Secretary (Wilbur) Ross, the tide is changing. It is clear the Administration is committed to making sure America’s public resources remain public and that healthy natural resources are available for future generations.”

Appointments include Steve Heins of New York to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Chester Brewer of Florida to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and Phil Dyskow of Florida, Dr. Bob Shipp of Alabama, and Dr. Greg Stunz of Texas to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

“The recreational fishing community along the Gulf Coast has found itself at a severe disadvantage in recent years due to an unbalanced Gulf Council,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “The Administration heard our calls for action and they have delivered. We look forward to the progress to come and better access to healthy marine resources for America’s recreational anglers.”

 “The Trump Administration understands the need for balance in our fishery management system because they care about jobs,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association.

“Saltwater recreational fishing in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is the backbone of our industry and supports almost twice as many jobs there as the commercial industry. Creating more balanced Councils in these regions in particular was absolutely the right thing to do.”

Heins is a life-long angler who has worked with both sectors of New York’s fisheries. After 29 years of service, he recently retired from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Heins has a track record of working with the New York fishing community to build consensus and achieve management and policy decisions that are in the best interest of fisheries resources and the people who depend on them.
 
Brewer has more than 35 years of experience with recreational fisheries issues. As a member of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and Chairman of the Advisory Panel Selection Committee, he has broad knowledge regarding the fisheries in the Southeast region and brings with him experiences from the recreational fishing sector. In addition to his work on the SAFMC, he  serves as Chairman Emeritus for the Florida state chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, a board member of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, and a member of the board of the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation. Previously, he served 10 years as Recreational Advisor to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna - U.S. Section.
 
With diverse knowledge of marine fisheries issues and proven business leadership, Dyskow retired following a successful career with the Yamaha Marine Group, culminating in his 13-year tenure as President. Dyskow has now devoted much of his free time toward fisheries conservation and management efforts. He has served on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council.
 
Dr. Shipp is considered one of the foremost experts on red snapper, triggerfish ,and other species of concern to Gulf Coast anglers. He has served on the Gulf Council for 18 years, including as Chairman of the Council, and also has served on the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee. As Chair Emeritus of the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama, he brings a scientific and pragmatic perspective to difficult fishery management issues.
 
Dr. Stunz, one of the foremost authorities on Gulf of Mexico marine science, brings a balanced perspective to federal fisheries issues. Dr. Stunz is the endowed chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health and executive director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. He is also a professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Science and Technology and is an author of more than 40 scientific papers in national and international journals.

Wednesday
Apr122017

There’s nothing like the adventure of saltwater fishing. The adrenaline rush of hooking into a billfish, a big striper, or hard-fighting redfish is second to none. That thrill is undoubtedly what attracts more than 11 million Americans to the sport.

Unfortunately, the laws that govern federal saltwater fisheries are out of date and have never taken recreational anglers into account. This has led to shortened or even cancelled seasons, reduced bag limits, and unnecessary restrictions.

The good news is a new law is making its way through Congress that should fix those problems.

The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, or Modern Fish Act for short, has just been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rather than focusing on commercial fishing, the new bill is a comprehensive package specifically aimed at addressing the needs of the nation’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers.

The Modern Fish Act will improve access to America’s federal waters and promote conservation of our natural marine resources. Simply put, that means more and better fishing.

Tell your Representative to support the Modern Fish Act today.