Do you have any thoughts on this post?
Did you know that the WaterSMART program makes critical investments in local and regional efforts to conserve water and improve fish habitat? We need more of that on the Colorado River.
The TRCP’s Joel Webster was featured on America Outdoors Radio to discuss the issue of inaccessible state and federal lands and what hunters and anglers can do to secure more public land opportunities for themselves and future generations. (The segment begins around the 22-minute mark.)
Give it a listen below, or download this episode on your favorite podcast app for your next roadtrip. And be sure to visit UnlockingPublicLands.org, where you can sign up to receive our new report when it’s released later this summer!
This is YOUR chance to play a role in how our public lands are managed and ensure that sportsmen and women have a say about the places where we love to hunt and fish
Bureau of Land Management lands in the Arkansas and South Platte River drainages offer world-class trout fishing, provide crucial habitat for Colorado’s most iconic critters, and offer some of the best backcountry hunting opportunities near the Front Range.
The BLM is in the process of revising a plan that will guide management on 668,000 acres of these public lands over the next 20 years, and sportsmen and women need to speak up.
Please attend a local public meeting in the next few weeks (see schedule below) and share your perspective as a public land user.
These events will offer updates on the planning process, allow the public to share their ideas and opinions on the draft plan, and explain ways for interested citizens to stay involved.
The best way to see that our priorities are included in the plan is to have a presence and provide input at these meetings. Meeting dates, locations, and times, as well as suggested talking points are listed below.
Thank you for taking the time to support our public lands.
|Salida||SteamPlant Event Center, 220 W. Sackett Ave, Salida, CO 81201||8-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
|Canon City||The Abbey Event Center, Benedict Room, 2951 East Hwy 50, Canon City, CO 81212||9-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
|Fairplay||Fairplay Community Center, 880 bogue Street, Fairplay, CO 80440||11-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
|Walsenberg||Washington School, Auditorium, 201 E. Fifth Street, Walsenburg, CO 81089||15-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
|Denver||Denver Marriott West, Monart Room, 1717 Denver West Blvd., Golden, CO 80401||18-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
|Colorado Springs||Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80904||22-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
|Greeley||Greeley Recreation Center, Room 101 ABC, 651 10th Ave, Greeley, CO 80631||23-Jul||5:30-7:30 p.m.|
Suggested Talking Points
Photo: Bob Wick, BLM (via Flickr)
Sportfishing groups will argue case before an independent adjudicator
The objections raised by sportfishing groups in opposition to certification of the industrial Atlantic menhaden fishery as a “sustainable fishery” are scheduled to be heard by an independent adjudicator on July 8 and 9.
In March, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Coastal Conservation Association, and American Sportfishing Association filed an objection—which was later combined with a similar objection raised by The Nature Conservancy and Chesapeake Bay Foundation—to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) recommendation that Omega Protein should receive a certification of sustainability for its U.S. Atlantic menhaden purse-seining operations.
Next week’s adjudication hearing is a significant step forward in the effort to ensure there is a healthy forage base for striped bass and other important sportfish in the Chesapeake Bay and all along the East Coast.
“To make it to the next stage of this process with a hearing and oral arguments is significant in that the independent adjudicator clearly recognizes that our objections have merit,” said David Sikorski, executive director of CCA Maryland. “The MSC process is not entirely predictable and has been criticized in the past as being far too aligned with commercial interests. We are encouraged that the very real concerns raised in our objection have had an impact.”
The recreational fishing community has long believed that Omega Protein’s relentless pressure on menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay, the primary nursery ground for striped bass and many other sportfish, has caused localized depletions of forage, leading to an increase in diseased, stressed, and skinny fish in the Bay. The TRCP, ASA, and CCA objected to many of the certification findings and scores, including one that would grant the certification of sustainability on the condition that Omega reach certain milestones over four years, and not because the operation can be considered sustainable now.
“Certifying the Atlantic Menhaden fishery as sustainable at this time could undermine efforts at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to establish management that considers the entire ecosystem,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “Striped bass populations are shrinking and there is evidence that removal of forage has contributed to that. We should be making sure that conservation measures are being enacted now—not years down the road.”
In the past, the MSC’s impartiality has been questioned since it has been funded in part from royalties paid by the very seafood processors seeking to use the MSC ecolabel. Third-party certifiers are paid by the entity seeking certification, and if the certification is successful, those third-party certifiers often receive long-term contracts to monitor chain-of-custody of the products and update reviews of the fishery every five years. In other words, both the MSC and the third-party certifiers stand to benefit financially from a successful certification.
In 2011, the prestigious science journal NATURE published a sharp critique of the MSC process, claiming that after the signing of a contract between the MSC and Walmart, the number of certified seafood products skyrocketed.
“We are committed to participating in this process and raising the concerns of the recreational fishing community, because once the sustainable label is bestowed on a fishery, it will be much more difficult to make needed management changes to that fishery,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “That is particularly perilous when certifying a fishery that targets a forage base on which so many sportfish depend.”
While it is not known what fees Omega has paid to the MSC to pursue certification, the TRCP, ASA, and CCA have been required to pay a £2500 (or roughly $3,150) “objection fee” to the London-based MSC to make their case in this next round of the process.
In the last two years, policymakers have committed to significant investments in conservation, infrastructure, and reversing climate change. Hunters and anglers continue to be vocal about the opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations. Support solutions now.Learn More