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 fishermen 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.
For decades, recreational fishermen have generally been an afterthought in ocean resource management. And when recreational fishing has received attention by managers 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 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.
This is something to celebrate - and at Keep America Fishing, that means getting out on the water!
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