December 1, 2009 (Washington, DC) -Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) member Rep. Adam Putnam and CSC House Co-Chair Rep. Dan Boren sent a letter today to the Chair of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force urging inclusion of the recreational fishing community in the formation of a proposed new ocean governance structure.
The letter, addressed to Ms. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), is in reference to the Interim Report of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force released in September, which failed to include issues of concern to the recreational fishing community.
"It's very important that America continue to be a good steward of all our water resources," said Rep. Putnam. "And recreational fishing has established itself as a valuable partner in this effort. Through the special taxes they pay, sportsmen provide hundreds of millions of dollars each year to support conservation efforts. They also act as a powerful network for educating people on caring for the natural environment. I urge the Administration to work with sportsmen and not against them."
"Inclusion of the recreational fishing community in this effort could greatly assist the task force's stated objectives," said Rep. Boren. "They should welcome the participation of recreational anglers and seek their support in ensuring the conservation, maintenance, and restoration of our nation's oceans and lakes."
The Task Force was created to develop a draft national policy and implementation strategy for conserving and managing the oceans, the Great Lakes, and the coasts of the United States. The draft policy would potentially govern federal Pacific and Atlantic Ocean waters and Great Lakes resource conservation and management and assist in the coordination of these efforts among federal, state and local agencies.
"Along with our sporting partners, we discussed in detail issues of interest and concern to the recreational fishing community in a July meeting and followed up with a written submission to Ms. Sutley," said Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation President Jeff Crane. "We offered specific, detailed recommendations to the task force, emphasizing the need to recognize and promote recreational angling in any federal policy the Task Force developed."
The letter from Putnam and Boren notes that the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund is supported by taxes paid by anglers and boaters. In 2008, the fund provided $398 million to states for sport fish restoration and $126 million for coastal wetlands planning and restoration. Millions more went to conservation grants and boater safety programs.