Voting “fish” is only the first step 3
I received the latest issue of Sport Fishing Magazine yesterday in the mail and as I flipped through the pages I read an editorial that just blew my mind!
The article was by Doug Olander the editor and started off by telling of a group called National Resources Defense Council that wants people to boycott Shimano bicycle products. The reason is because Shimano makes fishing products.
That's right, another attack on an American pastime that's been passed down for generations by some well funded, radical, uneducated environmental militia group. These groups don't care about facts, science, or debate. They have an agenda and it doesn't include people like you and me that enjoy fishing and feel enriched by creation after a day on the water. We are literally on a battlefield right now and the recreational fisherman is under attack from all sides.
If you think that I am overreacting, then just take a look around. Commercial fisherman are proposing an increase in the commercial harvest of striped bass in the NE and some in the commercial industry are trying to get longlining listed as a sustainable method of fishing. Commercials are constantly pushing for more allocation and in Alaska they have successfully shut out new entrants to charters wanting to halibut fish.
Whacko environmental groups are using junk science to push for a lead band. Marine spatial planning, MPA's and arbitrary fishing closures have become the norm.
Locally here in the NW we still have gillnets in our rivers, lakes, and saltwater. We have a commissioner that proposed closing the state's most productive fishing grounds so that he can have a place to dive without being disturbed.
I could go on and on but hopefully you are hearing what I am saying, recreational fisherman need to stand up and be counted! There are several ways of doing this but I believe these three are key.
It all starts with voting. This is as American as apple pie and if you aren't going to make your voice heard at the ballot box then don't complain the next time a politician that doesn't know how to hold a rod casts a vote to deny you access.
After we have the right people in office then it is accountability time. Groups like CCA, NSIA, and PSA here locally and many other nationally are very active behind the scenes and need our membership. For just a fraction of what we spend on ice every year we can pay dues or donate money.
Lastly, we need to be actively involved. Grass roots activism is something that I am afraid we are going to half to have going forward. It's no longer just enough to vote or join, we have to be active on the front lines. In reading Doug Olander's editorial I learned of a website managed by the American Sportfishing Association called, Keep America Fishing.
The great thing about this website is that it is just asking you to act.
It doesn't require membership or money, although you can donate if you want. Keep America Fishing takes all the work out of it for you. They let you know when new issues arise and tell you how to help with action items. They have a Fishing Bill of Rights to sign, alerts, and news, both national and regional. Take a look at this site and I encourage you to sign up and then take action.
It's time that we as recreational anglers become just as passionate off the water as we are on.