Within the next 30 - 60 days, the Obama Administration is planning to issue a final report, and possibly other management guidance, intended to govern the management of the nation's oceans, coastal areas and Great Lakes. The plan originated in June 2009, when President Obama created the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. The Task Force, led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), was charged with developing a national policy for conserving and managing the United States ocean territory and the Great Lakes. The policy will govern ocean and Great Lakes resource management and coordinate efforts among the many federal, state and local agencies that oversee a significant portion of our nation's waters.
The White House is in the final stages of developing the final report, which must balance sustainable uses with ocean and Great Lakes conservation. It is important that the administration recognizes and promotes the economic and conservation contributions of outdoor recreation, including recreational fishing and boating. Without such recognition, decisions made under this national oceans and Great Lakes policy could be used to close saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing areas.
Anglers and boaters are the original stewards of our environment. If you take us off the water, this country will lose a vital element in the conservation of our fisheries resources. Outdoor recreation is a part of our way of life and we need to ensure that it remains an option for all Americas.