Common Questions Regarding CCA's Position on MPAs
Does CCA oppose marine protected areas?
No. CCA opposes the arbitrary exclusion of recreational anglers from our nation’s renewable fishery resources. CCA opposes regulations that prohibit recreational fishing access unless it can be scientifically determined that recreational fishermen are the cause of a specific conservation problem and traditional conservation measures are inadequate to solve the problem.
Has CCA ever supported area closures?
CCA has supported the use of area and time closures. We have supported area and time closures (combined with controls on displaced effort) to reduce highly migratory species bycatch. CCA equally supported an area closure intended to prevent fishermen from targeting a gag grouper spawning aggregation area (that later turned into an arbitrary blanket closure to all recreational fishing and prompted a lawsuit by CCA).
Doesn’t the NASA/Cape Canaveral no-fishing zone show the value of these types of closures?
No. The blanket access closure in the area surrounding Cape Canaveral was implemented for NASA security. There is some thought that the exceptional recreational fishing in adjacent areas to the closure is directly attributable to this no-fishing zone. But with a state gill net ban and increased state regulatory measures to conserve coastal resources (which were both spearheaded by the interests and efforts of recreational fishermen), it is impossible to link the security closure to improved fishing.
What is the Freedom To Fish Act?
CCA and the American Sportfishing Association worked with congressional leaders to draft The Freedom To Fish Act (S 1314). It was introduced late in the 106th congressional session (sponsored by Sen. John Breaux, D-LA and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX) where it was referred to committee. This critically important bill has been reintroduced in the 107th Congress (by Sen. Breaux and Sen. Hutchison) to help ensure recreational anglers’ freedom to fish. It includes a specific set of criteria for the proper utilization of marine protected areas while acknowledging recreational anglers’ freedom to access our nation’s renewable marine fisheries.
Do recreational fishermen have a “right” to fish?
No. Although some states have right-to-fish legislation either pending or implemented, there is no congressional right-to-fish legislation. As it stands, CCA is calling for recreational anglers’ freedom to fish, free of arbitrary government exclusion from otherwise open areas of the U.S. seas.