CCA Questions Obama Administration’s Ocean Policy

Task Force omission of recreational angling a glaring flaw

Posted on October 15, 2009

HOUSTON, TX - A recently issued report of the White House Interagency Ocean Task Force has caused widespread concern among America’s recreational anglers. Released just weeks after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) promised to take a “fresh look” at the federal agency’s relationship with recreational anglers, the Interim Report threatens to fast-track sweeping reforms for the management of resources in federal waters, but fails to recognize – or even mention – the conservation, economic or social contributions of recreational angling.

“Our members are very concerned about this entire process, from the timeline to the overall tone and intent of this effort. This is a huge undertaking and the ramifications could impact 60 million anglers, and yet it comes with a 30-day public review and comment period and doesn’t even mention us,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “Placing such a high priority on ocean policy is a worthy endeavor, but if this is to be a legitimate effort to establish a true policy of conservation for the wise use of our natural resources, it should not be pursued with such timelines and remarkable lack of inclusion.”
President Obama launched the effort to develop a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to manage the oceans through the White House Council on Environmental Quality, NOAA and numerous other agencies. The Administration’s directive mandated an aggressive180-day timeline to develop a national ocean policy that includes an integrated, ecosystem-based framework for marine spatial planning. Coastal Conservation Association has been active in this process and has grown concerned that concepts and goals important to the recreational sector have been overlooked – or ignored.
“We are stunned that the Task Force did not recognize the role of recreational fishing in the proper management of ocean resources. Whether this was done intentionally or not, the end result is a document that has alarmed millions of recreational anglers,” said Brewer . “We were led to believe that the value and role of recreational angling would be a priority for this Administration, as it should be for any Administration seeking to improve the management of our oceans. Establishing an overarching national oceans policy must fully consider and balance the interests of all who will be directly affected. For the Interim Report to ignore recreational fishing is an alarming sign that must be addressed.”
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 for more information.
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH



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We will be able to accept comments and questions on this issue until October 30, and selected comments may be posted below. Thank you.
Ted Venker
Newsroom Moderator


This is the real deal - I am glad to see that you guys are aware of this and doing something about it.
- Mark R. 


Thanks for the info' I have submitted my comments as directed.

- Jerry L.


Q. The email on questions about Obama's ocean policy is long on drama and angst but short on facts. First of all what is this policy that so upsets the CCA? If it is fear that the Feds are going to control fishing in federal waters, isn't that a good thing? By "controlling" the fishery could that be to prevent overfishing and thus preserve the fishery? It seems to me that the CCA is doing the exact same thing we accuse the watermen of doing. That is to whine about restrictions while taking the last crab, the last oyster etc.
- Jay H.
This issue has such breadth and depth that it would be impossible to include all the facts in one email, which is why we included links to the interim report itself, our press release, our testimony and a page on our web site with links to articles by other media outlets about this issue.
Among the many aspects about the work of the Task Force that are concerning to this point is that in spite of extensive interaction and input from the recreational angling community, including CCA, during the development of the Task Force's interim report, there is no mention of the value and contribution of the recreational angling sector. None. If the federal government is truly concerned about more effectively managing our fisheries, then it should not be in such a huge rush to develop an overarching national oceans policy and completely leave out any mention of the 66 million Americans who participate in recreational angling.
- Newsroom Moderator
I am surprised at the lack of attention that recreational angling received on this issue, especially since the recreational anglers are the most deeply involved with conservation.
- Adam G.
You are not alone in your surprise. I think is safe to say that a lot of people were very surprised that recreational angling was omitted from this report when it was released. I think that is why there was such a public outcry from such a wide array of groups. If you look click on the link to the testimony CCA will deliver on Oct. 19, you will see that it is being delivered on behalf of Coastal Conservation Association, the Center for Coastal Conservation, American Sportfishing Association, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, The Billfish Foundation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Game Fish Association, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. This report has caused a great deal of alarm in the rec community.
- Newsroom Moderator


I fully support the proposal. If you continue to fight CONSERVATION you will lose me.
- D. Vedder
Of course everyone can evaluate the Interim Report and interpret what they believe it intends to accomplish, but it should be pointed out that there is a significant difference between "conservation" and "preservation." CCA's main concern with the report is its preservationist tone and the omission of a more balanced, sustainable use and conservation doctrine that CCA believes would best fit and serve the general public, including the nation's recreational anglers.
- Newsroom Moderator
I responded with some comments...Very good work on your part!!!

- Frank L

As a lifelong recreational angler, and having grown up in coastal areas for Florida, I have seen the result of unbridled development on Florida waters, both fresh and salt. It has become clear to me that the environmental damage on the fisheries is caused not by recreational anglers, but by private development, haphazard and ill informed regulations by local, state and federal governments and illegal commercial fishing. I oppose the federal government placing access restrictions for recreational fishing for any reason other than national security. Neither the federal government, nor the states have adequate resources to enforce the regulations they already have.

 - G. Curt W.

Thanks for looking out for Rec fishing! Most of us live up the regulations that are generally extreme in terms of limits on hook and line catch. Rec Fishing has declined a bit in popularity among the public and really does not pose a threat to our fisheries minus mass-fishing techniques. Conservation is good but eco extremism is not. 

- Ben

Slow down and make conscious, well-thought out recommendations for our most valued natural resource.  Bring ALL stakeholders to the discussion and lets find common waters.

- Todd J.


As a CCA member and lifelong fisherman I support your efforts to make sure our voices are heard so that “anglers’ conservation, economic and social contributions are recognized as a key component of any national oceans policy”, however, could you please tell me what specific “reforms” in the Interim Report are contrary to CCA’s vision or mission statement regarding use and preservation of these resources? I’m all for speaking up for our cause but I really don’t see anything in the preliminary report put out in the Interim report that is in conflict with our own goals. Thanks.
- Bob W
Is this just a problem because we aren't getting recognition or do believe they may be fast-tracking policies that will please some of their supporters and intentionally leaving out recreational anglers so they won't have to deal with or answer to them and can proceed without interference?  Are there more possible problematic issues you foresee down the road in respect to this issue?
- Diane R.
Has anyone there digested the interim report to highlight the issues of concern for the recreational angler? This would probably help when we forward to our contacts. Thanks.
-Manley C.
I posted these comments together because they pose very good, similar questions that hopefully can be addressed with the same answer by CCA federal lobbyist Matt Paxton:
The process by which the National Ocean Policy is being developed raises serious concerns because it is not understood if there will be meaningful consideration and incorporation of recreational interests. This is a process that is being done completely from within the Administration and, based on numerous meetings with the Administration and on the Interim Report itself, we know there is very little understanding or concern for recreational fishing views.  
In addition, there are many laudable goals and initiatives contained in the Interim Report, but there are many more concepts that are not defined that could be extremely problematic for anglers, such as "ecosystem-based management" and "marine spatial planning." These are concepts that CCA has either worked on at the local, state and Regional Council level or would help shape in the legislative process. However, under the Interim Report it discusses ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning as federal mandates. Ecosystem-based management is still being developed and implemented at the Regional Council level and marine spatial planning has no legal authority or consistent understanding across the ocean-management policy landscape. These concepts should not be federal mandates. 
CCA worked aggressively during the Bush Administration to push back on an internal proposal being developed by the Council on Environmental Quality, much like this National Ocean Policy is now being developed, that would have locked up large portions of the Gulf of Mexico and locked out recreational anglers. This proposal was stopped by CCA and other recreational organizations because we were able to explain our views and why this would be extremely detrimental to the fishing public. However, it is yet to be seen that this Administration will listen to our concerns and include them in a final National Ocean Policy. That is why there is an urgency to make our views understood as often as we can and as much as we can. 
- Matt Paxton


Guys - it is damn near impossible to  be an angling conservationist in their minds.  Good Luck.
- Doug H.

As one of 60 million anglers in the United States, I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the National Ocean and Great Lakes Policy proposal recently released by the Ocean Policy Task Force.  I am very disappointed that the task force failed to recognize the significant conservation, economic and social contributions of recreational fishing and include that as a key policy component.  I am also very concerned about the abbreviated 90 day timeline which forced the Task Force to rush to issue this policy document.  The implications of such a policy are vast and nationwide.  Therefore, the review process should be very deliberate and with more than 30 days of public review and comment.

- Alfred S.

Recreational fishing is my families livelihood, and the only income our household has, to see that this has been taken so lightly is disturbing.  I have been witness to many of the awesome things that Coastal Conservation has done for our fisheries and not to mention the revenue that has accrued from this sport.  It would be awful to see this matter handled improperly.
- Kathryn L.