When you think of “State of the Industry,” you immediately think of a Visioning Statement or even a comprehensive plan. For the fishing industry, the Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC), in collaboration with other marine industry partners, recently published A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration. This very well-thought-out and detailed visioning plan is a great first step for the marine fisheries industry in developing a working relationship with the new administration and incoming congressional members.
To quote Jeff Angers, President of CCC, “The recommendations outlined in the Vision seek to more effectively manage the marine recreational fishing sector—to improve the public’s access to public resources, to create jobs and to enhance conservation of fish stocks.”
According to Angers, “The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing at the federal level. It suggests new approaches should reflect the reality of the demand for recreational access to US marine fishery resources, the current economic activity associated with that access and the scientific data of the light footprint recreational access has on our fisheries access.”
My compliments to Jeff and his industry associates for the very proactive approach to enhancing recreational fishing access with the new administration and Congress. With recent victories allowing recreational fishing access in several marine monument designations by the Obama administration, it is imperative we keep the momentum going and the message that the recreational fishing community are the leading conservationists and visionaries to preserving resources and our access to them. The 11 million saltwater marine fishing activities and byproducts contribute $70 billion annually in economic activity and over 450,000 U.S. jobs. It is critically important for the new administration and Congress to understand the economic value that results from preserving and growing recreational saltwater marine fishing in this nation. Our future depends on it.