Strategy that could prohibit citizens from fishing the nation's waters

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Post by TexasBlue on Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:42 pm

Culled out

Robert Montgomery
ESPNOutdoors.com
March 9, 2010


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.

"When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) completed their successful campaign to convince the Ontario government to end one of the best scientifically managed big game hunts in North America (spring bear), the results of their agenda had severe economic impacts on small family businesses and the tourism economy of communities across northern and central Ontario," said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.

"Now we see NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the administration planning the future of recreational fishing access in America based on a similar agenda of these same groups and other Big Green anti-use organizations, through an Executive Order by the President. The current U.S. direction with fishing is a direct parallel to what happened in Canada with hunting: The negative economic impacts on hard working American families and small businesses are being ignored.

"In spite of what we hear daily in the press about the President's concern for jobs and the economy and contrary to what he stated in the June order creating this process, we have seen no evidence from NOAA or the task force that recreational fishing and related jobs are receiving any priority."

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.

Additionally, some of these same organizations have revealed their anti-fishing bias by playing fast and loose with "facts," in attempts to ban tackle containing lead in the United States and Canada.

That same tunnel vision, in which recreational angling and commercial fishing are indiscriminately lumped together as harmful to the resource, has persisted with the task force, despite protests by the angling industry.

As more evidence of collusion, the green groups began clamoring for an Executive Order to implement the task force's recommendations even before the public comment period ended in February. Fishing advocates had no idea that this was coming.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, the New York Times reported on Feb. 12 that "President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities."

Morlock fears that "what we're seeing coming at us is an attempted dismantling of the science-based fish and wildlife model that has served us so well. There's no basis in science for the agendas of these groups who are trying to push the public out of being able to fish and recreate.

"Conflicts (user) are overstated and problems are manufactured. It's all just an excuse to put us off the water."

In the wake of the task force's framework document, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) and its partners in the U.S. Recreational Fishing & Boating Coalition against voiced their concerns to the administration.

"Some of the potential policy implications of this interim framework have the potential to be a real threat to recreational anglers who not only contribute billions of dollars to the economy and millions of dollars in tax revenues to support fisheries conservation, but who are also the backbone of the American fish and wildlife conservation ethic," said CSF President Jeff Crane.

Morlock, a member of the CSF board, added, "There are over one million jobs in America supported coast to coast by recreational fishing. The task force has not included any accountability requirements in their reports for evaluating or mitigating how the new policies they are drafting will impact the fishing industry or related economies.

"Given that the scope of this process appears to include a new set of policies for all coastal and inland waters of the United States, the omission of economic considerations is inexcusable."

This is not the only access issue threatening the public's right to fish, but it definitely is the most serious, according to Chris Horton, national conservation director for BASS.

"With what's being created, the same principles could apply inland as apply to the oceans," he said. "Under the guise of 'marine spatial planning' entire watersheds could be shut down, even 2,000 miles up a river drainage from the ocean.

"Every angler needs to be aware because if it's not happening in your backyard today or tomorrow, it will be eventually.

"We have one of the largest voting blocks in the country and we need to use it. We must not sit idly by."
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Post by BubbleBliss on Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:17 pm

What's it matter? The waters are so polluted that you're only supposed to eat locally caught fish once a week in the majority of the states...
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Post by Katmandu on Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:08 am

Where I live, I'm one of the very few people who don't go fishing. To the avid die-hard fishermen/fisherwomen around here, these are fighting words. That would be as bad as disconnecting their tv during football season. Don't even think of it!

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Post by BubbleBliss on Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:34 am

I just wonder if this goes for industrial fishing/over fishing or even recreational fishing. I doubt very much that recreational fishing will be outlawed except for in extreme circumstances.
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Post by TexasBlue on Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:52 am

BubbleBliss wrote:What's it matter? The waters are so polluted that you're only supposed to eat locally caught fish once a week in the majority of the states...

Apparently you haven't been to Minnesota. You make blanket statements that are unfair. We have some of the cleanest lakes in the country.

Btw, a vast majority of Minnesotans are fishermen... libs/cons/Dems/Repubs/etc.

I don't fish myself. Don't care for it. But if this thing actually takes roots, you can expect a huge, huge backlash.
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Post by TexasBlue on Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:53 am

BubbleBliss wrote:I just wonder if this goes for industrial fishing/over fishing or even recreational fishing. I doubt very much that recreational fishing will be outlawed except for in extreme circumstances.

That's nice. Federal gov't telling states (again) that they can't allow fishing on their lakes.
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Post by BubbleBliss on Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:08 pm

Yeah, hence the word 'MAJORITY' in my post. I think the number is somewhere in the mid 30s. It's mostly in those states that burn a huge amount of coal for energy and have decent populations. Even though coal only has an extremely small amountof mercury, the amount some states burn creates a HUGE amount of mercury which is then transferred into the water ways with precipitation.

I'm just curious whether it's industrial only or recreational as well....
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Post by TexasBlue on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:49 pm

It'll remain to be seen where this plays out.

Btw, i don't have a stake in this.
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Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:34 am

BubbleBliss wrote:Yeah, hence the word 'MAJORITY' in my post. I think the number is somewhere in the mid 30s. It's mostly in those states that burn a huge amount of coal for energy and have decent populations. Even though coal only has an extremely small amountof mercury, the amount some states burn creates a HUGE amount of mercury which is then transferred into the water ways with precipitation.

I'm just curious whether it's industrial only or recreational as well....
I would imagine and hope that they are referring to industrial fishing. I'm sure you know all too well bubblebliss the problems with overfishing in the North Sea and no doubt "the industry" will complain bitterly that their business freedoms are being curtailed blah blah blah and how quotas/bans are going to destroy the fishing industry but the issue these people fail to understand: what will have a greater impact on your jobs... a) short term ban and quotas or b) having NO FISH TO CATCH?!

Seriously, it isn't rocket science.


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Post by BubbleBliss on Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:03 am

It's all about comfort. Ignore the problem and it'll go away, that's what some people think.

Not only in the North Sea, also all over the world. The Yellow Fin Tuna, I'm sure you're aware of that one as well...
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Post by TexasBlue on Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:43 pm

I think the original post was talking about the lakes here in the USA. I understand what you two were talking about. If i get it right, that's international waters there.
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Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:23 pm

TexasBlue wrote:I think the original post was talking about the lakes here in the USA. I understand what you two were talking about. If i get it right, that's international waters there.
The point is the same, we're not arguing about international claim to certain waters, we're discussing the problem of unsustainable over-fishing.

Overfishing in the name of free market capitalism is damaging not just the environment but the industry itself. Wherever you are in the world, having no fish to catch because you have caught every last one will destroy the fishing industry.
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Post by TexasBlue on Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:50 pm

That's over the top in a way. Most, if not all, states have laws on fishing. Here's Minnesota's fishing laws; http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/fishing/index.html

I get what you're saying but there's no place in this country where people can fish unimpeded as far as allowable catches are concerned. It's like deer hunting. There's a season for it and there's tight regulations for what, where and how you shoot them.
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Post by BubbleBliss on Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:16 pm

That's why Matt and I both said that we hope this limit only applies to industrial fishing since private fishing will barely put a dent in a fish population, most of the time.
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Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:22 am

TexasBlue wrote:That's over the top in a way. Most, if not all, states have laws on fishing. Here's Minnesota's fishing laws; http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/fishing/index.html

I get what you're saying but there's no place in this country where people can fish unimpeded as far as allowable catches are concerned. It's like deer hunting. There's a season for it and there's tight regulations for what, where and how you shoot them.
Generally I trust private individuals catching fish for their own personal use to stick to the rule of law. Judging by problems in the North Sea here, I don't trust commercial fishers to adhere too much. They flout the law in the North Sea and cannot see how they are damaging their industry by not adhering to law. Once again, the ugly face of capitalism.
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Post by TexasBlue on Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:00 pm

Commercial anything is for the dollar (profit). Of course they're going to bend rules.

Individuals bend them also. I see every year here when the Minn DNR fines people for violations.


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Post by BubbleBliss on Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:14 pm

But the main concern is the fact that when individuals bend the rule, it won't have that great of an effect because only a small number of them actually do bend the rules.

The same cannot be said about commercial fishermen due to the huge amount of fish they catch.
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Post by TexasBlue on Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:06 pm

BubbleBliss wrote:But the main concern is the fact that when individuals bend the rule, it won't have that great of an effect because only a small number of them actually do bend the rules.

The same cannot be said about commercial fishermen due to the huge amount of fish they catch.

I agree with you on that. It's probably 1% of the people that do it. And probably another 1% added to that that don't know that they broke a law (from ignorance of it).
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Post by BubbleBliss on Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:37 pm

Yeah, that sounds about right.

But I think more than 1% that broke the law didn't know about it. Most likely the dad who takes his son fishing isn't going to look up the size requirement of every fish they could potentially catch. Very Happy
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Post by TexasBlue on Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:03 pm

Most violations are a lack of the proper license... if one is had at all.
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Post by BubbleBliss on Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:07 pm

Yeah, that's true...
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