Home | Fly Fishing Features | News | What's the Government up to this month?

What's the Government up to this month?

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
American Sportfishing Association American Sportfishing Association

The Policy Watch newsletter from the American Sportfishing Association sets out to tell us all about the latest development in policies that affect your fishing.

  

Policy_Watch_Revised
September 2010 American Sportfishing Association Policy Watch

Policy Watch is a monthly update for the sportfishing community about the American Sportfishing Association's (ASA) Government Affairs activities.

For more information on ASA Government Affairs activities, contact Gordon Robertson, Vice President and Government Affairs lead, 703.519.9691, x237, Mike Leonard, Director of Ocean Resource Policy, x230, or Alyssa Hausman , Policy Fellow, x 244.

Update on the Petition to EPA to Ban Use of Lead in Fishing Gear
Legislation Introduced to Prevent Unwarranted Ban on Lead Fishing Tackle
The 2010 Sportfishing Summit - October 26 - 28, in Fort Lauderdale, FL 
ASA Committee and Board of Directors Meetings at Sportfishing Summit
Sacramento Supreme Court Rules in Favor of California Anglers
Fishery Conservation Transition Act Update
Recreation Community Meets With Forest Service Chief
Update on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
$26 Million in Federal Disaster Relief Apportioned to Gulf Coast
ASA Meets with CEQ to Discuss America's Great Outdoors Initiative
California Marine Life Protection Act Planning Update
Partnership for Sustainable Oceans Supports Unified Array Proposal
Oregon Moves Closer to Decisions on Marine Reserves
ASA Comments on South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Amendments 17A
National Fish Habitat Conservation Act Update
Reopening of Gulf Red Snapper Recreational Fishery

Update on the Petition to EPA to Ban Use of Lead in Fishing Gear 
On August 23, the Center for Biological Diversity and four other organizations petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban lead in fishing tackle and lead in ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. On August 27, the EPA denied the section of the petition regarding ammunition but is still considering the proposed ban on lead fishing tackle. ASA submitted extensive comments requesting that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson dismiss the petition as it refers to fishing gear. ASA also coordinated a group letter opposing the petition that included thirty fishing and hunting organizations. Through ASA's angler advocacy site, www.KeepAmericaFishing.org , over 43,000 anglers have sent letters to Administrator Jackson and their Members of Congress. The public comment period on the petition closed on September 15, 2010, and EPA has until November 1, 2010, to respond to the petition. Even though the comment period has closed, ASA members are encouraged to write EPA Administrator Jackson and their Members of Congress in opposition to the petition. Information and a template message are available on ASA's website.

Legislation Introduced to Prevent Unwarranted Ban on Lead Fishing Tackle 
On September 28, Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced S.3850 , legislation which seeks to prevent an overarching federal ban on lead in recreational fishing tackle, a move that could have a significant economic impact on anglers and the recreational fishing industry. Ammunition is exempted from EPA regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The bill, S.3850 will amend TSCA so that the same exemption applies to fishing tackle. ASA members are also encouraged to write their Senators requesting cosponsorship of S.3850. Information and a template message are available on ASA's website .

The 2010 Sportfishing Summit - October 26 - 28, in Fort Lauderdale, FL  
The American Sportfishing Association's 2010 Sportfishing Summit , the sportfishing industry's premier networking and business management event, is scheduled for October 26 - 28, at the Westin Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. All Summit materials are available on ASA's website including an agenda, registration form, online housing reservations and information on sponsorship opportunities and recreation opportunities. The deadline for pre-registration and group housing rates was October 1, 2010. Normal registration rates apply. For information regarding registration, contact ICAST Coordinator Melissa Woolley, (703) 519-9691, x241. For questions about the program, contact Communications Director Mary Jane Williamson, (703) 519-9691, x227. Please direct all questions about the ASA housing block to the Westin Beach Resort at (954) 467-1111.

ASA Committee and Board of Directors Meetings at Sportfishing Summit 
During the 2010 Sportfishing Summit, the ASA Board of Directors will meet on Monday, October 25, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. They will also meet on Thursday, October 28, from 7:30 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. The association's committees will meet on Tuesday, October 26. The Government Affairs committee (includes Trade and Commerce, Saltwater and Freshwater subcommittees) will meet from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The Membership, Communications, and Finance committees will meet from 9:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. The Show, Data and Statistics, Consumer Shows and the FishAmerica Foundation committees will meet from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. The General Membership Meeting will take place on Thursday, October 28, from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. If you have questions about the board of directors or committee meetings, please contact Joyce Anderson-Logan, x233.

Sacramento Supreme Court Rules in Favor of California Recreational Anglers  
California's recreational fishing and boating community claims victory as a California Superior Court issued a ruling confirming that the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force and Master Plan Team (also known as the Science Advisory Team) are state agencies and are therefore compelled by California's Public Records Act to share information with the public about key decisions made in the MLPA process. The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Malloy & Natsis LLP, on behalf of Robert C. Fletcher, former president of the Sportfishing Association of California, a member organization in the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO). The ruling will allow examination of key documents to determine the legal basis for decisions made in the MLPA process. For more information and to support this effort, please visit www.OceanAccessProtectionFund.org.

Fishery Conservation Transition Act Update  
On September 29, the Fishery Conservation Transition Act, H.R.6316 , was introduced in the House by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Dan Boren (D-OK); Paul Ryan (R-WI); Mike Ross (D-AR); and Jeff Miller (R-FL), along with five other Members of Congress. On September 28, ASA, the Center for Coastal Conservation and the Coastal Conservation Association met with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) to discuss progress on the Senate's companion bill, S.3594 , which the Senator introduced in July. The FCTA addresses a critical need to give federal marine fisheries managers the time, resources and direction necessary to address chronic deficiencies in data collection and science that have plagued federal fisheries management. Go to www.KeepAmericaFishing.org™ to send a letter to your Senators urging them to support S.3594.

Recreation Community Meets With Forest Service Chief 
On September 27, ASA and other members of the outdoor recreation community, met with Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to discuss the role of recreation in the Service's upcoming Planning Rule. The meeting came in response to a letter to Chief Tidwell from more than 70 top recreation organizations expressing major concerns about the Planning Rule, most notably the lack of attention that the Rule pays to the value of recreation in the national forests. Chief Tidwell assured the community that the importance of recreation had been elevated in the draft Rule's language and that it would be included in the social, economic and environmental assessments required in national forest plans.

Update on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill 
On September 19, drillers completed the bottom kill procedure to permanently stop the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, ensuring that no more oil is released from the well site. No oil has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the completion of the top kill procedure on July 15. As of October 1, all state waters in the Gulf of Mexico are open to recreational fishing and 89 percent of federal waters are open. A map of the current fishery closure area can be viewed here.

$26 Million in Federal Disaster Relief Apportioned to Gulf Coast 
On September 17, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Locke announced that $26 million in federal disaster relief will be awarded to provide assistance for the recovery of fishing communities affected by the BP oil spill. This relief money was included in an amendment in the 2010 Supplemental Appropriation Bill, which President Obama signed into law on July 29, 2010. ASA worked with Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), to include this key amendment in the bill. The money will be divided between three projects: $15 million for strategic marketing and promotion of recreational and commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and the safety of seafood caught there, $10 million for expanded fish stock assessments of Gulf species and $1 million for a National Academy of Sciences study on the long-term impacts of the oil spill on the Gulf ecosystem.

ASA Discusses America's Great Outdoors Initiative with CEQ 
On September 28, ASA met with Amy Salzman, associate director of Policy Outreach for the Council on Environmental Quality, to discuss important ideas on the America's Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO). AGO is a 21st century agenda for conservation, recreation and reconnecting people with our nation's great outdoors. On September 20, ASA submitted comments on AGO; they were divided between two main objectives, the first being the conservation and management of natural resources, with focus on those resources which the public depends on for high quality, easily accessible recreational fishing opportunities. The second overarching goal is to reconnect people to the outdoors, which requires the additional responsibility of managing fishery resources to maximize recreational fishing opportunities. A report incorporating public feedback on the Initiative will be submitted to President Obama on November 15. The full comments from ASA can be viewed here.

California Marine Life Protection Act Planning Update 
ASA and the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO), which represents recreational fishing and boating interests in California, continue to be engaged in the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) South Coast Planning Process. On September 29, the California Fish and Game Commission held a special meeting to consider a potential extension to the public comment period for the South Coast region Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The PSO and others had requested an extended review and comment period, from 45 to 90 days, for this lengthy and complex document. The Commission voted to extend the public comment period by only 15 days, allowing a total comment period of 60 days. The DEIR, which was released on August 18, 2010, analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the marine protected area proposals currently under consideration for this area. Prior to this important vote, Governor Schwarzenegger removed sportsman Mike Sutsos from the Commission, in what is viewed as another attempt to rush the MLPA process through without appropriate public comment and necessary consideration.

Partnership for Sustainable Oceans Supports Unified Array Proposal  
On August 31, stakeholders in northern California, who represent a wide array of interests in the region, submitted a single, community-supported marine protected area proposal for California's North Coast as part of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process. On September 16, the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO), which represents recreational fishing and boating interests in California, sent a letter to the Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF), the MLPA oversight group, urging them to accept the Regional Stakeholder Group's unified array proposal.

Oregon Moves Closer to Decisions on Marine Reserves 
After months of work, the three community groups in Oregon's statutory process to designate marine reserves have made recommendations to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The community groups have recommended up to four scenarios featuring different boundaries and levels of protection for each proposed marine reserve site. Each of the recommended scenarios must be large enough for scientific study of its ecological benefits yet small enough to limit economic and social impacts on coastal communities. These scenarios all allow for recreational fishing within at least a portion, if not all, of the proposed reserve site. The proposals for Cape Falcon, Cascade Head and Cape Perpetua can be viewed on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website, along with more information about the marine reserve process.

ASA Comments on South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Amendments 17A 
On September 24, ASA submitted comments to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) in opposition to the massive bottom fishing closure proposed in Amendment 17A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. The nearly 5,000 square mile proposed closure area off the southeastern coast of Georgia and northern Florida would prohibit fishing for all species in the snapper grouper management complex. ASA opposes the bottom fishing closure in Amendment 17A because of the lack of economic data for considering the impact of the rule and because such a draconian measure to close all bottom fishing in large expanses of the ocean goes far beyond the intentions of Congress when it reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Act in 2006. In addition, a new stock assessment is in process and may provide some flexibility in stock recovery rules. Amendment 17A was approved by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in a split vote of 9 to 4, during its June 2010 meeting in Orlando, Fla., and must be approved by the Secretary of Commerce before going into effect.

National Fish Habitat Conservation Act Update 
On September 13, ASA met with other members of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (NFHCA) legislative team to discuss outreach efforts and strategies to ensure passage of this important legislation. The NFHCA legislative team continues to advocate with Members of Congress for their support of the legislation and to seek additional sponsorship. ASA is urging both the Senate and House to include the Act in an omnibus fish and wildlife bill that Congress will attempt to pass in a lame duck session. The NFHCA provides funding for crucial fisheries conservation and habitat restoration across the United States. To ensure this bill is passed, please send a letter to your members of Congress today urging them to support the NFHCA.

Reopening of Gulf Red Snapper Recreational Fishery 
On October 1, the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico will reopen to recreational harvest for an additional eight weekends. Recreational fishing of red snapper will be allowed on Fridays through Sundays until November 21. Due to the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, fishermen were only able to catch one third of their annual quota. The additional season will allow fishermen to harvest the remaining recreational quota. For more information, read the official bulletin or visit NOAA's Southeast Region website.







Articles by the same author






Comments (1 posted):

Biggie on 05/10/2010 16:22:29
avatar
Politics are for Pundits! I'm going fishing until the mid terms are over!
Add/View Comments
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

asa

Rate this article

4.00

Follow NA Fly Fishing Forums!