"Put down that fishing rod sir!"
Obama administration will accept no more public input for federal fishery strategy
By Robert Montgomery
The Obama administration will accept no more public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing 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.
That's a disappointment, but not really a surprise for fishing industry insiders who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force. These angling advocates have come to suspect that public input into the process was a charade from the beginning.
"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. The current U.S. direction with fishing is a direct parallel to what happened in Canada with hunting: The negative economic impacts on hard working American families and small businesses are being ignored.
"In spite of what we hear daily in the press about the President's concern for jobs and the economy and contrary to what he stated in the June order creating this process, we have seen no evidence from NOAA or the task force that recreational fishing and related jobs are receiving any priority."
Consequently, unless anglers speak up and convince their Congressional representatives to stop this bureaucratic freight train, it appears that the task force will issue a final report for "marine spatial planning" by late March, with President Barack Obama then issuing an Executive Order to implement its recommendations — whatever they may be.
Led by NOAA's Jane Lubchenco, the task force has shown no overt dislike of recreational angling, but its indifference to the economic, social and biological value of the sport has been deafening.
Additionally, Lubchenco and others in the administration have close ties to environmental groups who would like nothing better than to ban recreational angling. And evidence suggests that these organizations have been the engine behind the task force since before Obama issued a memo creating it last June.
AP/Luis M. AlvarezOne sign at the rally of recreational and commercial fishermen summed up the feelings.
As ESPN previously reported, WWF, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, Pew Environment Group and others produced a document entitled "Transition Green" shortly after Obama was elected in 2008. What has happened since suggests that the task force has been in lockstep with that position paper.
Then in late summer, just after he 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 once 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 by playing fast and loose with "facts," in attempts to ban tackle containing lead in the United States and Canada.
That same tunnel vision, in which recreational angling and commercial fishing are indiscriminately lumped together as harmful to the resource, has persisted with the task force, despite protests by the angling industry.
As more 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. Fishing advocates had no idea that this was coming.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, the New York Times reported on Feb. 12 that "President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities."
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."
In the wake of the task force's framework document, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) and its partners in the U.S. Recreational Fishing & Boating Coalition against voiced their concerns to the administration.
"Some of the potential policy implications of this interim framework have the potential to be a real threat to recreational anglers who not only contribute billions of dollars to the economy and millions of dollars in tax revenues to support fisheries conservation, but who are also the backbone of the American fish and wildlife conservation ethic," said CSF President Jeff Crane.
Morlock, a member of the CSF board, added, "There are over one million jobs in America supported coast to coast by recreational fishing. The task force has not included any accountability requirements in their reports for evaluating or mitigating how the new policies they are drafting will impact the fishing industry or related economies.
"Given that the scope of this process appears to include a new set of policies for all coastal and inland waters of the United States, the omission of economic considerations is inexcusable."
This is not the only access issue threatening the public's right to fish, but it definitely is the most serious, according to Chris Horton, national conservation director for BASS.
"With what's being created, the same principles could apply inland as apply to the oceans," he said. "Under the guise of 'marine spatial planning' entire watersheds could be shut down, even 2,000 miles up a river drainage from the ocean.
"Every angler needs to be aware because if it's not happening in your backyard today or tomorrow, it will be eventually.
"We have one of the largest voting blocks in the country and we need to use it. We must not sit idly by."
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Black Blade: Whittling away at freedom a little bit at a time. The same has been happening to hunting and before long all recreational (and subsistence) fishing and hunting will be made illegal or severely restricted.
Arkansas does "early voting" now. This week is a primary for state legislooters and a few bills to amend the state Constitution. Item 1 is an amendment to guarantee the right of citizens to hunt and fish on public land.
Back when our Constitution was written nobody would have thought about guaranteeing such a thing. It would have been akin to a Constitutional guarantee to breathe public air.
Yes to that one. The other two proposals are an ill-written control on interest rates (I can't even figure out WTF it means, so "No") and an amendment to change they way the state can issue bonds (they don't need a freakin' Constitutional amendment for that, so "No" to that, too.)
I only found out about this "early voting" thing in time for the last big election. Instead of spending four hours jammed into the usual polling place (*) during a 12-hour window, you just wander into City Hall at your convenience, during a week-long window. It's not quite a secret, but they sure don't make any effort to let anyone know.
(*) this is an example of "gerrymandering". Probably 80% of the town, in selected non-contiguous areas, has to queue up at one polling place, which is far too small to handle the load. The other 20% go to one of a dozen convenient polling places and zip right through. It's not exactly illegal, as I understand it, but it lets the electors strongly influence the vote
As the beginning of the article says its a charade, the ( Green movement ) and all there allies will put the squeeze on all hunting & fishing so big Govt. can bring us to the new age
I dont quite understand what is going on. They want too stop fishing or put higher controls on recreational fishing?
My God. Recreational fishing is a billion dollar industry in this country.
Weekends the rivers and canals are packed with fisherman here.
I have a fishing license and I will be damned if I aint going fishing.
They don't care about fishing, 4D. They probably wouldn't even recognize a fish if it wasn't breaded and deep-fried.
The issue is, they perceive someone is having fun, and they're not. Hunting, fishing, target shooting, riding motorcycles, bungee jumping, driving your flamed '32 Ford - not that they *want* to do any of that, but if it looks like someone else is enjoying it, it makes them angry. "People ought not to be allowed to do that!"
It's about control of ALL natural resources. This is not the only UN agenda package that the usurpers plan on enacting by executive order.
Next the battle cry will be they can take my fishing pole when they pry it from my cold dead hands. :D
Seriously though, I have a bad feeling about all of the crap that the administration is wanting to ram down our throats.
It's a multi-pronged attack to contol ALL natural resources.
Check this one out. From Sen. Jim Demint
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Originally published 06:15 p.m., March 2, 2010, updated 03:19 p.m., March 3, 2010
DEMINT: White House land grab
Sen. Jim DeMint
You'd think the Obama administration is busy enough controlling the banks, insurance companies and automakers, but thanks to whistleblowers at the Department of the Interior, we now learn they're planning to increase their control over energy-rich land in the West.
A secret administration memo has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land grab would dry up tax revenue that's essential for funding schools, firehouses and community centers.
President Obama could enact the plans in this memo with just the stroke of a pen, without any input from the communities affected by it.
At a time when our national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, it is unbelievable anyone would be looking to stop job-creating energy enterprises, yet that's exactly what's happening.
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The document lists 14 properties that, according to the document, "might be good candidates" for Mr. Obama to nab through presidential proclamation. Apparently, Washington bureaucrats believe it's more important to preserve grass and rocks for birdwatchers and backpackers than to keep these local economies thriving.
Administration officials claim the document is merely the product of a brainstorming session, but anyone who reads this memo can see that it is a wish list for the environmentalist left. It discusses, in detail, what kinds of animal populations would benefit from limiting human activity in those areas.
The 21-page document, marked "Internal Draft-NOT FOR RELEASE," names 14 different lands Mr. Obama could completely close for development by unilaterally designating them as "monuments" under the 1906 Antiquities Act.
It says all kinds of animals would be better off by doing so, like the coyotes, badgers, grouse, chickens and lizards. But giving the chickens more room to roost is no reason for the government to override states' rights.
Rep. Robert Bishop, Utah Republican, made the memo public because he didn't want another unilateral land grab by the White House, like what happened under former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Using the Antiquities Act, President Carter locked up more land than any other president had before him, taking more than 50 million acres in Alaska despite strong opposition from the state.
President Clinton used the authority 22 times to prohibit hunting, recreational vehicles, mining, forestry and even grazing in 5.9 million acres scattered around the country. The law allowed him to single-handedly create 19 new national monuments and expand three others without consulting anyone.
One of the monuments President Clinton created was the Grande Staircase-Escalante in Utah, where 135,000 acres of land were leased for oil and gas and about 65,000 barrels of oil were produced each year from five active wells. But, President Clinton put an end to developing those resources.
President Obama could do the same in other energy-rich places unless Congress takes action. At least 13.5 million acres are already on his Department of Interior's real estate shopping list.
This includes a 58,000-acre area in New Mexico. The memo said this should be done so the lesser prairie chicken and the sand dune lizard will be better protected. Are these animals going extinct? No. The bureaucrats wrote that the land should be locked up to "avoid the necessity of listing either of these species as threatened or endangered."
In Nevada, the Obama administration might make another monument in the Heart of the Great Basin because it, supposedly, is a "center of climate change scientific research."
In Colorado, the government is considering designating the Vermillion Basin as a monument because it is "currently under the threat of oil and gas development."
Americans should be wary of any plans a president has to seize land from the states without their consent. Any new plans to take away states' freedom to use land as they see fit must be stopped.
That's why I sponsored an amendment to block Mr. Obama from declaring any of the 14 lands listed in the memo as "monuments." Unfortunately, the Senate, led by Democrats, rejected it on Thursday evening by a vote of 58-38.
It was particularly disappointing that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, voted against the amendment. The government owns more than 80 percent of the land in Nevada and the unemployment rate there is 12.8 percent. Surely it would help job prospects if more land were open for business.
This is a nationwide problem. The government currently owns 650 million acres, or 29 percent of the nation's total land.
Federal bureaucrats shouldn't be wasting time thinking up ways to acquire more, especially in the middle of a recession. Taking the nation's resources offline will stifle job creation and dry up tax revenues.
If anything, the government should be selling land off, not locking more up. By voting against my amendment, the Democrats tacitly endorsed Mr. Obama's secret plan to close off millions more acres to commerce.
If enacted, the plan would mean fewer jobs for Americans.
The Democratic Congress refused to stop it, but one sure way Americans could help block it is if they decide some Democrats should lose their jobs on November.
Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, is chairman of the U.S. Senate Steering Committee, a caucus of conservative senators.
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