(H/T – Marcus Wilder)
ESPN reports on what is likely coming down the pike for anglers on virtually every body of water in the United States:
The Obama administration will accept no more public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.
This announcement comes at the time when the situation supposedly still is “fluid” and the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force still hasn’t issued its final report on zoning uses of these waters.
That’s a disappointment, but not really a surprise for fishing industry insiders who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force. These angling advocates have come to suspect that public input into the process was a charade from the beginning….
Consequently, unless anglers speak up and convince their Congressional representatives to stop this bureaucratic freight train, it appears that the task force will issue a final report for “marine spatial planning” by late March, with President Barack Obama then issuing an Executive Order to implement its recommendations — whatever they may be.
Led by NOAA’s Jane Lubchenco, the task force has shown no overt dislike of recreational angling, but its indifference to the economic, social and biological value of the sport has been deafening.
Additionally, Lubchenco and others in the administration have close ties to environmental groups who would like nothing better than to ban recreational angling. And evidence suggests that these organizations have been the engine behind the task force since before Obama issued a memo creating it last June.
As ESPN previously reported, WWF, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, Pew Environment Group and others produced a document entitled “Transition Green” shortly after Obama was elected in 2008. What has happened since suggests that the task force has been in lockstep with that position paper.
Then in late summer, just after he created the task force, these groups produced “Recommendations for the Adoption and Implementation of an Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes National Policy.” This document makes repeated references to “overfishing,” but doesn’t once reference recreational angling, its importance, and its benefits, both to participants and the resource.
As a reminder, fishermen and hunters have done more to protect the environment than the EPA, the environment-enforcement part of the DNR, Greenpeace, the WWF, et al. We have a unique stake in a clean environment. In fact, when I go canoeing, I drink right out of the lake.
My administration would place the emphasis in fishery management where it belongs: in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of stocks through the use of effective and appropriate conservation measures. Such an approach would not provide a preference for one management tool, such as a marine reserve, over another. Given sufficient management controls and data, a fishery can meet conservation objectives through a variety of catch controls and habitat-protection measures, including gear restrictions, bag limits or closures. In some cases, additional conservation measures may need to be taken to ensure a positive recreational marine-fishing experience for future generations of Americans. Recreational fishermen have not shirked from embracing such measures when needed to achieve long-term stock sustainability, as long as measures are matched to the problem. While marine reserves may be an effective means of achieving important goals, their use and design must be based on an assessment of impacts and balanced by a strong respect for the ability of recreational anglers to practice their sport. In my view, we need to be open to the use of a variety of innovative conservation tools and be prepared to use them if the science justifies their establishment, and if it has been determined that less-restrictive options will not achieve critical goals like rebuilding fish stocks. The decision to establish marine reserves should be made as a result of a transparent, science-based process and be the least intrusive possible to get the job done. Such a process should include outreach to the sport-fishing community to explain both the scientific basis for the action and the expected conservation benefits to future fishing generations if it is to gain the community’s active support.
As AP notes, it is an “official Barack Obama campaign promise”, which means that under the Jim Geraghty Principle, sooner or later, it will reach its expiration date.
It likely won’t happen all at once, but it will happen in bits and pieces, with the ultimate goal of no legal fishing happening if Obama stays in office the full two terms.