FEDS TO 60 MILLION AMERICAN ANGLERS:
WE DON’T NEED YOU
Calif. USA – October 5, 2009 – A recently published administration
document outlines a structure that could result in closures of sport
fishing in salt and freshwater areas across America. The White House
created an Interagency Oceans Policy Task Force in June and gave them
only 90 days to develop a comprehensive federal policy for all U.S.
coastal, ocean and Great Lakes waters. Under the guise of ‘protecting’
these areas, the current second phase of the Task Force direction is to
develop zoning which may permanently close vast areas of fishing waters
nationwide. This is to be completed by December 9, 2009.
Pfeiffer, President of Shimano American Corporation explained, “In
spite of extensive submissions from the recreational fishing community
to the Task Force in person and in writing, they failed to include any
mention of the over one million jobs or the 6o million anglers which
may be affected by the new policies coast to coast. Input from the
environmental groups who want to put us off the water was adopted into
the report verbatim – the key points we submitted as an industry were
Recreational fishing generates a $125 billion annual
economy in the United States and supports jobs in every state according
to government figures. Through the Sport Fish Restoration program,
anglers have provided more than $5 billion through excise taxes on
fishing tackle to fishery conservation and education for decades.
addition to the economic aspects, anglers lead the nation in volunteer
conservation efforts on behalf of improving fish habitat, water quality
and related environmental areas. “There was no mention of the fishery
conservation efforts which anglers have led for over 50 years in every
state – an environmental success story that has no equal in the world”,
said Phil Morlock, Director, Environmental Affairs for Shimano. “The
Task Force did not make any distinction between the dramatic
differences between harmful commercial fishing harvest methods and
recreational fishing, even though we spelled it out for them in
detail,” added Morlock.
Claiming to be the result of a public
consultation process the report states, “Having considered a broad
range of public comments, this report reflects the requests and
concerns of all interested parties.”
The original White House memo
and not surprisingly the Task Force report contains multiple references
to developing a national policy where Great Lakes and coastal regions
are managed, “consistent with international law, including customary
international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea” - a 300-page treaty the U.S. has never ratified.
question what implications there will be for state authority and
jurisdiction in the Great Lakes and coastal regions if the U.S. adopts
the U.N. Treaty,” said Pfeiffer.
The report makes it clear that
future authority for implementing the policy for coastal and inland
waters will fall under White House jurisdiction with a new National
Ocean Council comprised of over 20 federal agencies at Cabinet
Secretary or Deputy Secretary level. No reference to Congressional
jurisdiction is indicated.
“This significant change in U.S. policy
direction is the result of a 90-day fire drill process as ordered by
the President that, not surprisingly, lacks balance, clarity and
quality in the end product,” said Morlock. “People who simply want to
take their kids fishing on public waters deserve better from their
government,” he added.
Shimano is joining with other members of the
recreational fishing industry to urge anglers to contact their members
of Congress and the administration to request this process be required
to adopt the economic, conservation and social contributions of
recreational fishing as key elements of the policy. It is critical that
we ensure Congressional oversight and state jurisdiction and management
E-letters can be sent to the administration and members
of Congress by visiting KeepAmericaFishing.org. The future of fishing
is in your hands.