Series of recommendations for next Administration and Congress urge improvements
to public access that create jobs and enhance conservation
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), along with the nation’s leading fishing conservation organizations and trade associations, released a landmark series of recommendations for the incoming Administration and the new Congress that strive to balance improving access to public waters, creating economic growth, and enhancing the conservation of marine fish stocks. The guidance for federal policy makers in A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration calls for an end to antiquated federal policies that have inhibited a vital source of economic growth and a proud American tradition.
“We are deeply committed to ensuring a bright future for marine recreational fishing,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “It’s a critical component of our economy, and it’s a proud part of America’s heritage of conservation. The recommendations in this report will ensure that we as a nation do all we can to continue this legacy.”
The Vision report highlights the economic value of recreational fishing in coastal waters. Today, 11 million American anglers fish for recreation in saltwater. From license sales to retail sales, the recreational saltwater fishing industry contributes more than $70 billion annually in economic activity and generates 455,000 jobs. However, outdated federal management policies threaten to stem this positive economic trend.
“While our highly successful model of inland recreational fisheries management is often envied by countries around the world, in many cases federal management of our marine recreational fisheries continues to struggle in meeting the needs of the angling public,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “The Vision document provides recommendations that will bring federal fisheries management into the 21st Century, enhancing both the conservation and economic contributions of America’s anglers.”
The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing at the federal level. New approaches should reflect the reality of demand for recreational access to our marine fishery resources, the current economic activity associated with that access, and the scientific data of the light footprint recreational access has on our fishery resources.
“It’s important that lawmakers and policymakers understand that commercial and recreational fishing need to be managed differently,” said Ted Venker, Conservation Director of Coastal Conservation Association and Chairman of the Center for Coastal Conservation’s Government Relations Committee. “The Vision report’s recommendations suggest taking a clear-eyed look at our nation’s fisheries, using modern science and technology to guide decision-making.”
Additional contributors to the report include American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
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?