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Important Statement from Rob Tobeck, Chairman of the Washington Anglers for Conservation Political Action Committee (WACPAC)
WACPAC Issues First-Ever Recreational Fishing Voters Guide
58 Legislative and 2 Statewide candidates endorsed; Gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna respond to key questions, indicating their support for removing non-tribal commercial gillnets from the mainstem of the Columbia River
Today, the Washington Anglers for Conservation PAC (WACPAC) issued the first-ever voters guide for recreational anglers in Washington State to consider when voting this November. The WACPAC Sportfisher’s Voters Guide will be made available online, in fishing and outdoor supply stores and as a special feature in the October edition of The Reel News, which has over 36,000 monthly readers.
Today’s announcement is just one component of the recreational fishing community’s ongoing efforts to mobilize a large political constituency and build recognition of its economic importance, both of which have all too often been ignored by elected officials and candidates. In addition to the voters guide, the WACPAC and other allied organizations have also distributed approximately $75,000 in campaign contributions to candidates.
The voters guide includes 60 recommendations of key champions, such as Representatives Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish) and Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama), who have been active in the Legislature promoting fisheries conservation and recreational fishing. In making recommendations, the WACPAC sought to identify those incumbents and candidates who share its passion to conserve and restore key marine and freshwater fish and wildlife populations, including wild Salmon & Steelhead runs, sturgeon, bottom fish, crab and other shellfish while promoting policies to make Washington a world-class place for recreational fishing.
In the hotly contested race to become Washington’s next Governor, both candidates responded to key questions provided by WACPAC focused on the importance of selective fishing, hatchery reform, the economic value of recreational fishing and current proposals to remove non-selective commercial gillnets from the mainstem of the lower Columbia River. Both candidates’ responses are included in the voters guide, including statements in support of a proposal before the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to transition the non-tribal commercial gillnet fleet out of the lower Columbia River mainstem.
“Each year over 725,000 residents sport fish in Washington, generating $1 billion in economic activity and providing tens of millions in license fee and tax revenue for state fisheries conservation and management efforts. Despite these and other important economic, conservation and social contributions, recreational anglers are frustrated by state policies that harm recreational fishing and the fisheries resource itself,” said Rob Tobeck, Chairman of WACPAC.
“WACPAC was created to better organize the huge untapped political constituency of recreational anglers and to promote common-sense reforms to state fisheries management policies. One example is the proposal to remove non-tribal commercial gillnets from the lower Columbia River mainstem, which would provide immense conservation, economic and social benefits across Washington. Another example was the passage of long-overdue legislation earlier this year requiring mandatory reporting of derelict fishing gear, or ghost nets, in Puget Sound and other state waters,” continued Tobeck.
“Over a million recreational fishing licenses are purchased each year in Washington and each legislative district is home to tens of thousands of recreational anglers who are passionate about our fisheries and fishing. Many legislative and statewide races are often decided by just a handful of votes, so we know that the votes of recreational anglers can make the difference for candidates who support our key issues,” concluded Tobeck.
The Voters Guide is available at: http://washingtonanglerspac.com/wp-cont ... e-2012.pdf
You can find out more about WACPAC and financially support our efforts here: http://washingtonanglerspac.com
About WACPAC. WACPAC is a Political Action Committee comprised of, and supported by, recreational fishermen and other conservation-minded individuals to provide political support and campaign contributions to worthy candidates for state legislative and state-wide political office.
WACPAC’s Board of Directors oversees and directs all of its activities and include members such as Chairman Rob Tobeck, former 710 ESPN Outdoor Line radio host and Seattle Seahawk, as well as longtime fish advocates Larry Cassidy of Vancouver and Frank Haw of Olympia. WACPAC’s activities often complement the efforts of other like-minded organizations, including the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), Fish Northwest, the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA), the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) and Puget Sound Anglers (PSA).