Do you have any thoughts on this post?
Eight major recreational fishing and boating groups are asking the Virginia General Assembly to advance legislation that transfers management authority of Atlantic menhaden, a key food source for striped bass and other recreational fish, to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, American Sportfishing Association, BoatU.S., Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, and National Marine Manufacturers Association are banding together in support of House Bill 1448 and Senate Bill 791, which shifts management authority to the Commission. Currently menhaden are the only finfish in Virginia not under the Commission’s purview.
The legislation would bring Virginia back into compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) after the Commonwealth was found in violation of ASMFC’s fishery management plan for failing to enforce the Chesapeake Bay harvest cap. This finding was the result of industrial fishing giant Omega Protein exceeding the cap by approximately 30 percent last year. The groups are raising concerns because when the menhaden population declines, it impacts striped bass, cobia, bluefish, and summer flounder.
“These valuable recreational fisheries are major contributors to America’s economy and support many fishing-dependent businesses within Virginia and across our industry,” the groups wrote. “In Virginia alone, the annual value of striped bass has declined from $240 million to $120 million in the past decade while associated jobs have declined from 3,950 to 1,830 in the same time period.”
The groups called on the General Assembly to pass the legislation, saying it’s important because it gives full time fisheries managers the authority to manage menhaden.
“Your support will demonstrate clear leadership to the thousands of Bay anglers and the hundreds of businesses they support and bring the Commonwealth of Virginia back into compliance,” the groups added.
Over 50 local businesses, including charter boat operators have also thrown their support behind the legislation.
The coalition’s letter of support can be found HERE.
Experts in conservation, finance, and government relations join leadership team
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is onboarding five new Board Members in 2020 to help guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish.
Jo Ann Barefoot, Glenn Hughes, Becky Humphries, Marti Powers and Nick Wiley round out TRCP’s 26-member leadership team.
“We are honored to have these remarkable individuals give of their time, expertise, and resources in order to advance the vision of Theodore Roosevelt,” said Rod Nelson, Board Chair. “With these additions to the Board, and our talented staff, TRCP is well-positioned to grow and advance conservation policy across the nation.”
Jo Ann Barefoot is the founder and CEO of the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, a nonprofit focused on modernizing the financial regulatory systems. Barefoot is an avid fly fisher, author, podcast host, entrepreneur, and angel investor. She was the first female Deputy Comptroller of the Currency.
Glenn Hughes is the president of the American Sportfishing Association, the world’s largest sportfishing trade association. Hughes is the former vice president/group publisher of Bonnier Marine Group, where he led numerous fishing and boating brands. Glenn also serves on the boards of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, the Center for Sportfishing Policy, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, and is a member of the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.
Becky Humphries is the CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation, former director of conservation programs at Ducks Unlimited, and former director of Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Using her education in wildlife management, Humphries led the National Fish and Wildlife Health Initiative. She lives in Michigan and South Carolina and is a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club.
Marti Powers is the external relations country manager at Shell Oil Company and also serves as the external relations general manager for Shell’s Upstream Unconventionals business. Powers has almost 30 years of public, government relations, and communications experience with a background in media, crisis and issues management. She previously worked for BP and Exxon Mobil.
Nick Wiley is the chief operating officer at Ducks Unlimited, where he provides leadership in support of DU’s continental wetlands and waterfowl conservation mission. Wiley previously served as the Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He is a certified wildlife biologist and a past president for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
A full roster of TRCP’s Board is available HERE.
The bipartisan legislation will address growing challenges to species and habitat health
More than 50 conservation groups are banding together and calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass bipartisan legislation that invests in wetlands, fisheries, chronic wasting disease research, and the Chesapeake Bay.
In early January, the Senate passed the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act or ACE Act (H.R. 925), and now a coalition of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation groups are asking the House to follow suit.
“Passage of the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act will not only have wide-ranging ecological benefits but will facilitate outdoor recreation on behalf of millions of Americans, strengthening conservation funding streams for years to come,” said the groups.
The coalition is asking the House to take up the legislation as passed by the Senate and make no changes.
The ACE Act:
The coalition’s letter to the House is available HERE.
EPA undermines protections for wetlands and streams
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency today announced a final decision to redefine which waters are eligible for Clean Water Act protections, leaving important habitat for fish and waterfowl vulnerable to pollution and significant harm.
Speaking at the National Association of Home Builders conference, Administrator Andrew Wheeler said he would be rolling back the 2015 Clean Water rule.
“This announcement flies in the face of all the hunters and fishermen who have contacted the EPA saying they oppose this decision,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “These rollbacks undermine the intent of the Clean Water Act, which has a proven track record of protecting America’s waters and supporting healthy habitat.”
The new rule will leave roughly half of the nation’s wetlands and almost one out of five of its stream miles without federal protection from pollution. In drier western states, as many of 90 percent of stream miles will not be protected from being polluted.
Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, creating a federal regulatory floor for pollution control across the country, as well as a partnership with states to address the many threats to our nation’s waters. This was important because states had not had the financial or political resources necessary to ensure clean water. Now the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are asserting that for all of the streams and wetlands they will no longer protect, states could step in, if they want, even as the agencies acknowledge that many states won’t have the resources to do so.
In a national poll, 93 percent of hunters and anglers say they believe the Clean Water Act has benefited the country. Additionally, 80 percent of sportsmen and women said Clean Water Act protections should apply to headwater streams and wetlands. Additionally, 92 percent believe that we should strengthen or maintain current clean water standards, not relax them.
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