The Billfish Foundation part of conservation coalition which pushed for executive order
WASHINGTON D.C., USA — Through the efforts of the Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC) of which The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is a major proponent, President George W. Bush signed an amendment to an earlier executive order giving access of more federal lands and waters to the nation’s recreational anglers and boaters.
While recognizing National Hunting and Fishing Day 2008 this past weekend, President Bush said, “My Administration has created, protected, and restored millions of acres of wetlands. Through my Ocean Action Plan, we are protecting fish populations and marine habitat. I was pleased to amend Executive Order 12962 to recognize the value of recreational fishing as a sustainable activity in Federal waters.
TBF President Ellen Peel said the amendment to the Executive Order signed by President Bill Clinton on June 7, 1995, ensures that recreational fishing shall be managed as a sustainable activity in national wildlife refuges, national parks, national monuments, national marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas, or any other relevant conservation or management areas or activities under any Federal authority, consistent with applicable law.
“It’s all very significant,” said Ms. Peel who also serves on the board of the CCC, “as is the administration’s on-going work on the Ocean Action Plan as it relates to the conservation and nation’s offshore sportsmen. The Plan, which promotes an ethic of responsible use and preservation of our oceans and coastal resources, is working to stop over-fishing in America by 2011, especially by foreign commercial interests, and through the Magnuson Stevens Act which enacted a 200-mile jurisdiction. Now two-thirds of federal waters — about 2.3 million square nautical miles – are off-limits to harmful bottom-trawling and dredging.”
“Today’s billfishermen are among the most conservation-minded citizens,” said Peel. “Hopefully the recent actions by the government will help to re-nourish an ailing marine economy.”
This past summer TBF among a coalition of five associations, individual conservationists and businesses helped to form the CCC into a non-partisan national organization dedicated to enacting sensible marine conservation laws through education and political action. Along with TBF, the other groups in the CCC include the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), American Sportfishing Assoc. (ASA), the National Marine Manufacturers Assoc. (NMMA) and the Coastal Conservation Assoc. (CCA). Though the groups hold a wide range of interests the new coalition is already focusing on federal policy – as it did in working with the White House on the executive order — and candidates in the upcoming 2008 elections.
Founded in 1986 by Winthrop P. Rockefeller, TBF is the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to conserving billfish and associated species worldwide which helps insure healthy oceans and strong coastal economies. TBF’s signature research project remains its traditional tag and release program that uses the efforts of anglers to provide data and research to scientists and fisheries managers. The organization also funds fisheries science and economic research to improve management of billfish and is tenacious in working with nations to improve enforcement. TBF works to educate adults, including government decision makers, and children of the importance of catch-and-release fishing and responsible use of all ocean resources. The Foundation is the world’s leading advocate providing legislators and governments with the best science possible to make the meaningful conservation decisions for billfish.