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In Washington, whose report will they listen to?

Thereís no place on the globe that can send out more mixed signals than Washington DC. More specifically, Iím referring to the nationís fishing and boating picture.

On the one hand, President Obamaís recently formed Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force has already called for creation of a National Ocean Council with sole authority over virtually all aspects of U.S. ocean policy. Moreover, the task force is about to issue final recommendations that will call for, among other things, Maritime Spatial Planning (translation: zoning) of coastal and Great Lakes waters.

The fear of Americaís boaters and anglers is that this could all result in ďzoning gone wildĒ with more no-take and/or no-fishing zones covering larger and larger areas. Itís already happening in California. Notably, the White House denies any such intention, but the task force certainly indicated otherwise early on.

On the other hand, the administration has just announced appointments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has named†five good representatives of boating to the SFBPC. They include: Thom Dammrich, NMMA president; John Sprague from the Marine Industry Association of Florida; Ned Dikmen, founder and chairman of the Great Lakes Boating Federation; Ryck Lydecker of BoatU.S.; and James Adams of States Organization for Boating Access. Congratulations to all!

These are very strong appointments for our industry and Iíd like to believe it signals the administrationís positive view of boating and fishing access. Interestingly, the SFBPC, first created by President Clinton, is to advise on matters that will “conserve, restore, and enhance the quality, function, sustainable productivity, and distribution of aquatic resources that support and increase recreational fishing opportunities nationwide, and to increase public awareness of the importance of aquatic resources and the social and economic benefits of recreational fishing and boating.”

†In fact, previously, the SFBPC, under the Bush administration, named access as one of its top strategic issues. It cited establishing no-fishing or no-take marine areas as restricting the use of publicly managed aquatic resources by the boating and angling public. Moreover, the SFBPC indicated concern, along with the boating and angling community, that no-take and no-fishing areas were being established with minimal scientific evidence. These and similar concerns were submitted by the SFBPC to the incoming Obama administration during the transition.

Whatís interesting now is that these two groups — the task force and SFBPC, both now appointed by the current administration — could find themselves pulling the White House in opposite directions. After all, taking away a manís opportunity to fish is a very volatile issue. But, if nothing else is clear right now, one thing is certain: For the boating industry, having such strong representation on SFBPC could go a long way to ensuring our interests are vocal and seated at the table if and when decisions about future access are being made. The question is: whose report will they buy. Weíll stay tuned!

Comments

6 comments on “In Washington, whose report will they listen to?

  1. Byrd Gossett

    If, after the latest fiasco in Washington, and the out-an-out duplicity of our leading politicians, ANYBODY believes ANYTHING coming out of that asylum, those believers need to have their heads examined. I don’t profess to know what this Administration’s hidden agenda is on this issue…but it isn’t going to be good for any of us. And as long as Lubchenko is in charge..we’re all in deep trouble..

  2. Tired Politics

    Back room deals, buying protection with an envelope of cash…..Godfather? Sopranos? No, it’s the USA Two Party Political System and no one should be surprised anymore.

    Actually DC could learn from The Godfather. This country would be better off under his leadership.

  3. John D

    I can second Byrd’s feelings. Years of experience with resource agencies has shown me that the agendas in Washington are seldom revealed in public meetings or stakeholder workshops. Those events are usually used by agencies to find where the resistance will be and help the agencies craft strategies to neutralize or marginalize same.
    Further, most players in Washington would rather compromise than fight – partly because they will have future dealings with the entities involved in today’s squabble. Unfortunately the compromises on boating and fishing opportunities are one way. We give things up today to forestall complete closures. Then in a few years we have to compromise again – to give up more opportunities.
    And these compromises are what I refer to as death sentences. We give up access to public waters or access to a resource – and we NEVER get it back, no matter what technological improvements or new scientific data is found. And our industry and sport lose FOREVER.

  4. Komrade Karl

    If not a VAT Tax in the near future (12-15 mo.) then how about this idea…
    Federal Fishing Licences going on sale $25.00 If paid by April 15th
    This will bring in (305,689,000 x $25=) 7,642,225,000..
    That billions folks better get to Wallyworld & get that rod..
    OH! You say you don’t fish or want to, or have a place to fish??
    To bad you may not have wanted to buy health Insurance but you have to now…

  5. Jack Hern

    Thanks Norm for keeping all of us informed. Many issues including mandatory PFD wear
    are going to greatly affect “pleasure” boating and we all appreciate Soundings Trade Only
    as well as you for keeping us informed.

  6. Doug Reimel

    Lets just take a good look at what is going on. The American way of life is under attack, in more ways than you can imagine. The sad part about all of this is…it is from those who believe they know what is best for you and I. This is about control. Here is a short story. The proffessor was asked a young man if he understood what was going on. The young man replied, Yes I do. It is the same way we capture wild pigs. Explain, said the proffessor. We put up a piece of fence. The free pigs scream and yell disgruntled. We then through out some food and they calm down and get use to the piece of fence. We then put up another piece of fence. The free pigs scream an yell disgruntled again. We through out more food and soon the pigs are comfortable with the fence. This process goes on until we have the free pigs fenced in and all there rights are gone and they scream and yell and eat what we give them. In the end the pigs are no longer free and have everything they are entitled too. Which is nothing. Goal accomplished. The proffessor replied: you make it sound so simple.

    IT is about control, you decide

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