Leading marine conservation groups deliver recommendations to improve public access and enhance fisheries that support American jobs and spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Center for Coastal Conservation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and seven other leading marine conservation and trade associationsreleased a series of recommendations for the incoming presidential administration and new Congress, calling on leaders to improve access to public waters, create economic growth, and enhance the conservation of marine fish stocks.
The guidance for federal policy makers is now available to the public in a new report, A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration, which calls for an end to antiquated federal policies that have inhibited a vital source of economic growth and the proud American tradition of recreational fishing.
“We are deeply committed to ensuring a bright future for marine recreational fishing,” says 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 recreationally 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 However, outdated federal management policies threaten to stem this positive economic trend.
“We want better fisheries management for economic reasons, but we need better management for conservation reasons,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Healthy habitat and fisheries provide benefits that can be measured—like tourism spending in coastal towns—and the intangible benefits of more American families on the water, more memories made, more connections forged with our natural resources, and more voices willing to speak up for conservation.”
The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools at the federal level to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing. New approaches should reflect the reality of demand for recreational access to our marine fisheries, the current economic activity associated with that access, and the scientific data of the light footprint recreational access has on our marine resources.
“It’s important that lawmakers and policymakers understand that commercial and recreational fishing need to be managed differently,” says Ted Venker, conservation director of the 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.”
“Fishing is a treasured pastime and tradition for millions of Americans and needs to be treated as such,” adds Angers. “The new administration and Congress should take steps to keep this tradition alive—for the benefit of all those who enjoy fishing, for the hundreds of thousands employed in the recreational fishing industry, and for future generations of anglers who will fall in love with the sea.”
Additional contributors to the report include the American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, and The Billfish Foundation.
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.