Angling, Angling Ban, Barack Obama, Environmentalism, Field Sports, Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA
Probably not, but…
Last October, Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for the well-known tackle company Shimano, warned that President Obama was rapidly developing a fisheries policy report intended to serve as the basis for an executive order that would apply to both saltwater and freshwater fisheries and which would potentially have grave and very far reaching implications. People at Shimano were alarmed at observing the power of influence over the report of radical environmental groups and found themselves and the recreational angling community shut out.
Dave 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 ignored.”
Robert Montgomery, a senior writer for BASS Publications, reported this week that the period for public input has now closed, and the situation has not changed.
The Obama administration has ended public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing some of 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.
Fishing industry insiders, who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force, had grown concerned that the public input would not be taken into account.
“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. ...
Led by NOAA’s Jane Lubchenco, the task force has shown no overt dislike of recreational angling. As ESPN previously reported, WWF, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, Pew Environment Group and others produced a document entitled “Transition Green” (sic) shortly after Obama was elected in 2008.
What has happened since suggests that the task force has been in lockstep with that position paper, according to Morlock.
In late summer, just after the administration 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 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 with their attempts to ban tackle containing lead in the United States and Canada.
Also, recreational angling and commercial fishing have been lumped together as harmful to the resource, despite protests by the angling industry.
Morlock’s 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. ...
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.”
I looked at the National Resources Defense Council Transition to Green document. It certainly contained plenty of environmental empire building and a very lengthy list of funding requests, but I did not see any specific plan to ban sport fishing.
I think anything that radical is still a long way off in the United States, even for the Obama Administration. But a ban on angling, following the Hunt Ban, is definitely on the table in Britain.
PETA has a front group specifically targeting both commercial and recreational fishing.
The folks at Shimano were quite right though in recognizing that the development of federal land and water management policies hand in glove with radical environmentalist and strongly anti-field sports organizations is extremely dangerous to the interests of sport. Changing the basis of wildlife management from a focus on recreational use and harvest to a junk science-laden ultra-preservationist agenda would have terrible practical effects and there are a thousand ways that minor regulations can be crafted on the basis of one pretext or another to cripple little by little anything the left is not able immediately to openly ban.
Signing Keep America Fishing’s petition is not a bad idea.