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Another assault on fishing

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You may sell fishing boats, you may not. But I’ll bet most of your customers do, at least, a little fishing. That’s what most industry surveys indicate -- anywhere from 45 percent to over 70 percent of all boats are used for fishing, at least, some of the time. So it's important to our industry-wide boat sales efforts.

That’s why I can get pretty hot, pretty fast when I stumble upon any action that will, in effect, hurt the freedom to catch fish. Moreover, it doesn’t make any difference if it’s an issue concerning salmon fishing on Lake Michigan or flounder fishing in Florida. When fishing is attacked, today, in one place, it can be vulnerable somewhere else tomorrow. After all, there are a lot of loons out there who’d do about anything to get all fishing stopped – ‘it hurts the fish,’ they tell you!

But what really gets to me is when the government thinks it knows best. Case in point - the latest piece of legislation (H.R. 21) dubbed the “Ocean-21” Bill introduced by Calif. Congressman Sam Farr. According to Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA): “At the pressure of extreme, anti-fishing environmental groups, Congress is now considering adding more levels of bureaucracy to the fishery management process that will further diminish the role and input of fisherman in the management of our nation’s fisheries, while laying a framework for environmental groups to pursue litigation on almost any action related to marine fisheries and habitat. ‘Ocean 21’ will have the power under the guise of eco-system management. The extreme environmental groups responsible for drafting this legislation have distorted the concept (of eco-system management) to serve their consuming desire to end all types of fishing by taking away our access.”

Donofrio cites the current unjustified quota on summer flounder as the current poster child for needlessly restrictive management due to nothing more than fears by NMFS of being sued.

Congress certainly has its share of green activists who are in the pockets of environmental organizations. California is a hot bed for it. Half the co-sponsors of “Ocean-21” are from that state where environmentalists have already “hijacked” the management process and are aiming to close up to 25 percent of all California’s waters to fishing!

My suggestion: If you’re in California, write your Congressional delegation and tell them “Ocean- 21” (HR-21) is a Trojan horse and needs to be tossed into the Potomac.

If you’re a dealer from anywhere your customers might fish (that’s virtually everywhere), I strongly urge you to learn more about “Ocean-21” and, especially, consider joining the RFA, a very good organization. Get all the details at: www.joinRFA.org

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