WASHINGTON President George W. Bush has again highlighted the importance of recreational angling to the country by signing an Executive Order that ensures federal agencies will manage fishing as sustainable activity in all federal waters, including marine protected areas (MPAs). The Order signed on Sept. 26, 2008, modifies Executive Order 12962 signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995.
"No President has ever understood the critical link between recreational angling and a strong conservation ethic as clearly as President Bush," said Walter W. Fondren III, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). "Recreational anglers have been the driving force behind many of the most comprehensive marine conservation victories this country has seen, and with this action the President is recognizing them as true stewards of the resource."
In August, the President sent a memo to the secretaries of Defense, Interior and Commerce, and the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality to include recreational fishing as part of their study of potential MPAs in the central Pacific Ocean. The Executive Order signed last week ensures that recreational angling will be managed "as a sustainable activity in national wildlife refuges, national parks, national monuments, marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas and any other relevant conservation or management area made under any federal authority, consistent with applicable law."
"The President secured a legacy for conservationists in October 2007 when he signed an Executive Order establishing game fish status for red drum and striped bass in federal waters," said Fondren. "He followed that today by securing anglers a place in the environment they cherish. Those two actions are a tremendous affirmation of the importance of anglers to coastal economies and to the overall health of our marine resources."
CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977. Visit www.JoinCCA.org for more information.