April 24, 2013

Final National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan Released

On April 16, 2013, the National Ocean Council released the final National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. The National Ocean Policy, created by Executive Order 13547 on July 19, 2010, established the National Ocean Council, which consists of 27 Federal agencies, departments, and offices working together to share information and streamline decision-making. The Council developed the Implementation Plan over a two-year period with extensive public input from a wide range of stakeholders.

There were several key facets in the Draft Implementation Plan that may have posed a threat to our recreational angling traditions as well as state conservation efforts across the country. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) worked alongside our partners in the recreational fishing community to address concerns about the National Ocean Policy, including the treatment of recreational fishing as a national priority through this initiative.

CSF supports the majority of the changes made to the final Implementation Plan but still has some concerns regarding the failure to designate recreational fishing as a priority use in our nation’s waters. The final Implementation Plan does, however, acknowledge the need to avoid closing off public recreational access and highlights the millions of dollars paid annually by recreational anglers in excise taxes on fishing gear and state fishing license fees as a part of the American System of Conservation Funding – a “user pays-public benefits” approach. The final Implementation Plan also emphasized the role of state agencies in the National Ocean Policy and clarified that regions are free to not participate in the marine planning process.

Click here for more information on the National Ocean Policy.

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?

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