For far too long, we anglers haven’t been activists, preferring to go fishing to “get away from it all.” No more! Whether you’re a fisherman like me or a dealer who sells boats to people like me, you should recognize we’re now a politically vocal constituency. The results are already precedent setting, but WE NEED YOU NOW!
Case 1 – Get the Modern Fish Act
You should have read Reagan Haynes report on this critical legislation in yesterday’s TradeOnlyToday. And, you should have acted immediately. But if you didn’t, it’s critical you step up today. Here’s why:
The Modern Fish Act is expected to go before Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation tomorrow, Feb. 28. It cleared a House Committee in December.
As recreational anglers, we’ve been governed by a regulatory system designed solely for industrial, commercial fishing interests. Now, for the first time in 42 years, passage of the Modern Fish Act will require recognition of recreational fishing under our nation’s primary marine fishing law. We need this win!
Here’s all you simply do. (1) Text “Fish” to 50457. You will receive an instant response which is a link to a form urging your members of Congress to support the Act. There’s a full update for you AND a message you can send to your Congressional members by (2) simply filling in your name, address, etc. and hit send. (It took me just 80 seconds – I type slowly - to hit send. Can’t be any easier – please do it now.
Here's a video from the Center for Sportfishing Policy that gives additional ways for people to get involved.
Case 2 – The Red Snapper Debacle
While no immediate action by you is needed right now, for years recreational anglers have been literally shut out of catching Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico while commercial fishermen have been allowed to make millions of dollars selling catch shares and harvesting hundreds of thousands of pounds. It’s a textbook case of privatization of our public resource.
Finally, angler anger has become so loud the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which previously ignored recreational anglers’ wishes, has heard the outcry for fairness. As a result, the Gulf Council has voted to approve Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) for each of the five Gulf States (Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida). The EFPs, which cover 2018 and 2019, will allow recreationally caught red snapper within certain periods determined by the respective state, something the boating industry and fishermen have sought for years.
Once again, anglers have successfully become vocal and engaged to improve equal access!
Case 3 – Achievement on Lake Erie
Another unprecedented example of fisherman demanding fair treatment and recognition of recreational angling is found on Lake Erie. Unlike saltwater, this is fresh water where states do well managing their own fisheries. Still, recreational anglers have to become activists when necessary to insure fair access to a resource.
A case in point is an angler campaign that spanned several years but has now resulted in an historic agreement that effectively closes the placement of any commercial trap net gear within a 130-square mile swath of Ohio’s coastal waters. It should mean a return to excellent recreational fishing for the prized and tasty Yellow Perch.
The truth is in this case both recreational and commercial interests should benefit. The area is a healthy breeding ground for the Perch. This unprecedented agreement won by the recreational fishermen to insure fair access to the resource will eliminate a serious disadvantage in which the commercial netters were leaving little for family anglers.
It really makes no difference whether you’re a boat dealer in Florida or Wisconsin, fishing issues are your issues. As a dealer, you must take time to be engaged when called on. We know about 70 percent of all boats we sell get used for fishing at least some of the time, with a high percentage used exclusively for fishing. No access, no fish, no boat sales.