Fishing & Boating News

Anglers Have a Reason to Celebrate

Recreational Fishing Will Be Allowed in New England Marine Monument

(Sep 15, 2016 - Alexandria, Va.) With the recent announcement that President Obama is creating the first marine monument on the east coast – the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument – many anglers are probably wondering, “how do we fit in?”

Most of the news around this announcement depicts the designation as being a fight between environmentalists and commercial fishermen. Lost in the shuffle is the very positive news that recreational fishing will be allowed in the monument.

While important in its own right, this is about much more than billfish and tuna anglers in New England continuing to be allowed to fish in these public waters, which are 150 miles and beyond off Cape Cod. This designation has much broader and, hopefully, long-term positive implications.

For decades, recreational fishermen have generally been an afterthought in ocean resource management. And when recreational fishing has received attention by mangers and policymakers, it’s usually lumped in with other “extractive” activities like mining, drilling and commercial fishing.

Anglers are leading conservationists and fully support reasonable regulations to conserve the environment. But we also don’t want to see bad public policy that bans recreational fishing unnecessarily.

Thankfully, President Obama recognized the distinction between recreational fishing and commercial extractive activities, and that recreational fishing is an activity compatible with resource conservation. With this positive precedent set, hopefully we’ll continue to see recreational fishing elevated as an important and sustainable public use when policymakers consider ways to conserve the marine environment.

As an angler, you should celebrate that the important role we play in the economy and conservation is finally being recognized. One suggested way to celebrate is to get out on the water and go fishing in the first ever marine monument on the U.S. Atlantic coast!

Tight lines,
Mike Leonard
Ocean Resource Policy Director
American Sportfishing Association