Tuesday, March 30, 2010

POMA Urges Obama Adminsitration to Protect Recreational Sportfishing

MARCH 26, JOHNSTOWN, PA - The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) joined POMA Corporate Partners the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and American Sportfishing Association in urging President Obama to ensure recreational sportfishing is protected under the National Ocean and Great Lakes Policy. A decision by the administration is expected within days.

"Recreational sportfishing is an American heritage sport," said POMA Chairman Chris Chaffin. "If it is not protected, the economic impact will be enormous - on POMA members, on the thousands they employ and on our country. Supporting the heritage of fishing in the United States is just one facet of POMA's mission to help members maintain and grow their businesses."

The policy agenda was put into motion in mid 2009, when President Obama created a task force to develop a policy for managing all of the United States' ocean territory and the Great Lakes. The President gave the task force 90 days to develop a plan. Part of the rushed policy-making involved the potential for setting up a process by which regions might develop zoning structures. Many fear that could lead to closure of vast areas of fishing waters nationwide.

Responding to an overwhelming outcry from citizens, the White House made a statement that said the policy would not include "blanket zoning." Does that leave the door open for spot zoning?

Reacting to the statement by the White House, Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, said he was pleased to hear from the administration, explaining the statement was the first time the administration has made a clearly positive statement about recreational fishing. However, Crane was cautious in his optimism.

"It remains to be seen how recreational angling is going to fare in its own right as well as other factors that could impact access, especially the issue of marine spatial planning (ocean zoning)," Crane said. "Like most things in Washington, the devil is likely going to be in the details, and while the administration isn't going to come out and just ban fishing, by potentially limiting access through zoning, they could have a serious impact on recreational angling."

Many experts also point to permanent closures of waters in California as good reason for Americans to be concerned.

The Professional Outdoor Media Association is a group of individual communicators and Corporate Partners who believe in, defend, support and promote the heritage of hunting, fishing, shooting and traditional outdoor sports through writing, photography and other means. By doing so, members hope to educate the general public about these sports and encourage more participation in them. The organization serves the membership by helping members grow professionally, improve their skills, better their working environments and enhance their businesses. http://www.professionaloutdoormedia.org/

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