Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Fisheries Program Director Chris Horton was recently appointed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Federal Advisory Committee (FAC). The purpose of the MPA FAC is to advise the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior on the development and implementation of the National System of Marine Protected Areas.
The committee consists of a diverse group of stakeholders, ranging from scientists, academia, commercial fishermen, anglers, divers, state and tribal resource managers, the energy and tourism industries, and environmentalists.
“Marine protected area” is a broad term that includes varying levels of protection for marine and Great Lakes resources. They can range from sanctuaries protecting maritime archaeological sites to the most restrictive “no take” marine reserves, where all fishing and extractive activities, including recreational fishing, are prohibited. Unfortunately, marine reserves are often the first thought when MPA’s are proposed, though they should only be considered in cases where all other management tools have failed and where supported by sound science.
“I look forward to the opportunity to represent recreational anglers on the MPA FAC,” said Horton. “While MPA’s can be a valuable tool in managing our cultural and environmental resources, we must establish clear criteria for when they are appropriate, ensure they are science-based and avoid being overly restrictive to public enjoyment.”
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?