Is Recreational Fishing Obama’s Next Targeted Villain?

This one is so off-the-wall stupid we’re struggling to believe it’s even possible. But apparently it’s legitimate – the Obama administration could be on the verge of imposing a ban of some sort on recreational fishing.

That’s correct. Fishing.

This morning, ESPN Outdoors ran a piece outlining a situation in which the administration appears to be moving toward a “federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.” Apparently, there is such a thing as an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, run out of the White House, and since June of last year they’ve been working on a scheme to regulate the abovementioned waterways so as to control virtually everything that happens within them.

That, says ESPN Outdoors reporter Robert Montgomery, includes whether Americans will be allowed to fish. According to the article…

“When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) completed their successful campaign to convince the Ontario government to end one of the best scientifically managed big game hunts in North America (spring bear), the results of their agenda had severe economic impacts on small family businesses and the tourism economy of communities across northern and central Ontario,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.

“Now we see NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the administration planning the future of recreational fishing access in America based on a similar agenda of these same groups and other Big Green anti-use organizations, through an Executive Order by the President. The current U.S. direction with fishing is a direct parallel to what happened in Canada with hunting: The negative economic impacts on hard working American families and small businesses are being ignored.

“In spite of what we hear daily in the press about the President’s concern for jobs and the economy and contrary to what he stated in the June order creating this process, we have seen no evidence from NOAA or the task force that recreational fishing and related jobs are receiving any priority.”

According to the article, there have been a bevy of white papers and policy documents pouring forth from environmentalist nuts since Obama’s election and many of them describe “overfishing” while making no apparent distinction between commercial and recreational fishing. Angling groups and recreational boating groups have been screaming about the cozy atmosphere between the Obama administration and the green gang for months, and no one has paid them any attention. As a result, it is now expected that by the end of this month some sort of final report from the task force will spill out, with an Executive Order from the president implementing the recommendations in the report on “marine spatial planning” that will, as Montgomery puts it, amount to zoning laws that might outlaw recreational fishing in certain areas.

What is “marine spatial planning?” If you think that is a sinister-sounding piece of jargonistic bovine scatology, we agree. Looking at this Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force’s work product to find answers, things get even more unsettling. They’ve released an “interim framework” document in December, the outline of which is below:

  • A New Approach to How We Use and Protect the Ocean, Coast, and Great Lakes. The Interim Framework is designed to: decrease user conflicts; improve planning and regulatory efficiencies and decrease their associated costs and delays; and preserve critical ecosystem function and services.  The Interim Framework describes how such plans would be developed and implemented, and provides timeframes and steps for phased implementation of the framework.
  • Moves us Away From Sector-by-Sector and Statute-by-Statute Decision-Making. While many existing permitting processes include aspects of coordinated planning, most focus solely on a limited range of management tools and outcomes (e.g., oil and gas leases, fishery management plans, and marine protected areas).  Comprehensive marine spatial planning presents a more integrated, comprehensive, ecosystem-based, flexible, and proactive approach to planning and managing uses and activities.
  • Brings Federal, State, and Tribal Partners Together in an Unprecedented Manner to Jointly Plan for the Future.  The Interim Framework is not a top-down planning effort. Rather, it describes a new approach to Federal resource planning that is regionally based and developed cooperatively among Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities, and regional governance structures, through the establishment of nine regional planning bodies.
  • Places Science-Based Information at the Heart of Decision-Making.  Scientific data, information and knowledge, as well as relevant traditional knowledge, will be the underpinning of the regionally developed plans.
  • Emphasizes Stakeholder and Public Participation.  The planning process would be fully transparent and participatory – requiring frequent and robust stakeholder engagement throughout all steps of the process (i.e., development, adoption, implementation, adaptation and evaluation).
  • There’s a PDF file of this document available which goes into more detail, as on the first page it defines “Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning” as…

    CMSP is a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. CMSP identifies areas most suitable for various types or classes of activities in order to reduce conflicts among uses, reduce environmental impacts, facilitate compatible uses, and preserve critical ecosystem services to meet economic, environmental, security, and social objectives. In practical terms, CMSP provides a public policy process for society to better determine how the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes are sustainably used and protected now and for future generations.

    It goes south from that paragraph of gobbledygook, and it basically goes on and on about the insufficiency of laws governing the different uses of bodies of water and the requirement for a “holistic” approach. Nine different federal bureaucratic agencies to create this “holistic” approach are proposed.

    The Task Force in question has as one of its most important members National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco, who as Montgomery reports comes from a background as a honcho with the Environmental Defense Fund and the Pew Oceans Commission – two organizations eaten up with global warming advocacy and “holistic” environmentalism. Lubchenco recently made an imbecile of herself when asked about the Climategate disclosures and the unraveling of the anthropogenic global warming movement’s “science,” which she still ardently defends, and that should naturally make anyone suspicious of government bureaucrats armed with “incontrovertible” science from which regulatory paradise might spring.

    In short, research into this issue yields more darkness than light, and this task force’s work product encompasses much more than just recreational fishing – its “holistic” approach to oceans, lakes and the like involves transportation, energy, commerce, aquaculture and all sorts of other perhaps more important sectors than recreational angling. The fact that fishing wasn’t even discussed as a separate case despite the loud opposition within that community should tell you how far gone the green gang and their allies in the administration are.

    Following this idiocy to its logical progression gives one a truly frightening scenario. If the federal government is in a position to tell sport fishermen there are areas they can’t fish – or can’t fish without a highly-prized and thus politicized federal license – how far does this go?

    Earlier today we referenced the Battle of Stalingrad as an analogy for the health-care struggle going on in Washington. That analogy reminded us of an interesting movie on the subject – Enemy At The Gates, with Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Bob Hoskins and Rachel Weisz – about the desperate Soviet effort to beat the Germans back in that pivotal battle.

    Well, in that movie there’s a scene – or, more accurately, there isn’t a scene, since it was deleted from the film, in which Law, playing the role of expert sniper Vassily Zaitsev, tells Fiennes, whose character is a political commissar, how he learned marksmanship from his grandfather. It seems Zaitsev’s grandfather was carted off to the gulag for the crime of poaching wolves… 

    Sure, you want to keep endangered species from being hunted out of existence. But when that’s not at issue it amounts to the kind of tyranny described in the scene for the government to attempt to control private citizens hunting and fishing. It’s an affront to the American way. And if the concerns expressed in Montgomery’s articles are valid (and research to date offers little reason to doubt them) when this task force’s final report tumbles out later this month, it ought to be a political and social scandal which buries Obama and his administration under a mountain of public outrage – starting with calls for the Soviet-sounding NOAA head’s name off her office door.

    UPDATE: Just in case you think this thing is crazy, just take a look at NOAA’s current performance on commercial fishing in Massachusetts. They’re perfectly willing to put commercial fishermen out of business out of a fealty to junk science; how hard is it to believe that they’d interfere with sportfishing?

    (Hat tip: Fishermen’s Blues, which  has done a comprehensive job of documenting the carnage the Obama administration has done to the commercial fishing business on the East Coast to date)



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