Powerful industry groups claiming to represent “us” are hell bent on allowing overfishing once again… We can’t let it happen
Let me be frank… Most of us pay little attention to what goes on in DC, at least not as it relates to fishing.
There are a few obvious reasons for that…
For one, fishery management in general is pretty darn complicated and hard to understand. While I have no doubt most of you know what the right thing to do is in most cases, or what should be done, understanding it all and engaging requires some effort… Often, a lot of effort.
And recreational fishing, well, it’s “recreation” right? It’s supposed to be fun for most of us… an escape.
Figuring it all out, engaging, or even just following the contentious debates about who gets the fish, how many should stay in the water, etc. sure isn’t what I’d describe as “fun.” The last thing most of us want to do is attach that kind of study, stress and constant worry to something that is supposed to bring us joy and a sense of freedom.
While I certainly don’t blame anyone, this sort of unawareness has resulted in many a situation where anglers lose.
And currently? Well, it’s allowed a group of powerful industry groups to pull the wool over our collective eyes, convincing a surprising number of folks in the angling community that certain legislative initiatives are good for conservation and good for anglers – when it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a general understanding of fishery management and has taken the time to actually read the bills, they are not. This has happened precisely, and in our opinion purposefully, because most anglers don’t know any better.
Specifically I’m taking about H.R.200 – Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, and S.1520 – Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017. Each/both are quite bad for just about any angler, or at the very least those of us depend on rebuilt, healthy and abundant fish stocks to actually catch fish.
So yes, such industry groups’ party line, without making any effort to expose anglers to what such bills would actually do, is that these bills are “good for recreational fishing” and provide for “conservation.”
Having sat on the Mid-Atlantic Council for the better part of a decade, I can tell you first hand that they are anything but. It is clear to us that what they really do is provide numerous loopholes that would allow the regional councils to disregard the science and allow overfishing.
What’s particularly galling is that such industry groups are currently telling Congress that they represent “us,” with the intent to create the perception that somehow the entire angling community wants something that is directly contrary to our own interests.
Of course, for sure there are quite a few short-sighted anglers that think preventing overfishing (i.e. laws/regulations that keep a few fish in the water) is simply big government doing too much meddling in their lives (if you are one of those people, stop reading here and find something better to do)… But I’d argue that WAY more of us understand that creating loopholes that allow overfishing and subsequently depletion of recreationally important stocks is bad… Bad for the fish, and ultimately bad for us.
If you are one of these people, and I suspect that you are given you’ve made it this far, WE NEED YOUR HELP. Like right now!
You need to email or call your state’s US Senators and tell them you DO NOT support S.1520 – Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017, and the loopholes that it will create which will allow overfishing. It doesn’t have to be a long email or phone call. You can just write or say the above.
Once you are done with that, email or call your US House Representative immediately and tell him or her that as an angler, you do not support H.R.200 – Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, as again, it will allow overfishing.
We’ve come a long way since the 80s and early 90s, when rampant overharvest was the norm. Such bills would almost certainly put us back decades.
So, DO IT NOW!
And thank you… Not just from the staff at Fissues, but from every conservation-minded angler out there. And from the next generation of fishers, who will benefit from our actions.