Task Force omission of recreational angling a glaring flaw
HOUSTON, TX – A recently issued report of the White House Interagency Ocean Task Force has caused widespread concern among America’s recreational anglers. Released just weeks after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) promised to take a “fresh look” at the federal agency’s relationship with recreational anglers, the Interim Report threatens to fast-track sweeping reforms for the management of resources in federal waters, but fails to recognize – or even mention – the conservation, economic or social contributions of recreational angling.
“Our members are very concerned about this entire process, from the timeline to the overall tone and intent of this effort. This is a huge undertaking and the ramifications could impact 60 million anglers, and yet it comes with a 30-day public review and comment period and doesn’t even mention us,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “Placing such a high priority on ocean policy is a worthy endeavor, but if this is to be a legitimate effort to establish a true policy of conservation for the wise use of our natural resources, it should not be pursued with such timelines and remarkable lack of inclusion.”
President Obama launched the effort to develop a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to manage the oceans through the White House Council on Environmental Quality, NOAA and numerous other agencies. The Administration’s directive mandated an aggressive180-day timeline to develop a national ocean policy that includes an integrated, ecosystem-based framework for marine spatial planning. Coastal Conservation Association has been active in this process and has grown concerned that concepts and goals important to the recreational sector have been overlooked – or ignored.
“We are stunned that the Task Force did not recognize the role of recreational fishing in the proper management of ocean resources. Whether this was done intentionally or not, the end result is a document that has alarmed millions of recreational anglers,” said Brewer . “We were led to believe that the value and role of recreational angling would be a priority for this Administration, as it should be for any Administration seeking to improve the management of our oceans. Establishing an overarching national oceans policy must fully consider and balance the interests of all who will be directly affected. For the Interim Report to ignore recreational fishing is an alarming sign that must be addressed.”