ESPN: Obama may ban recreational fishing or something

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that he will not, in fact, ban fishing, but the meta-narrative is so irresistible — elitist President Arugula coming to grab the bitter-clingers’ rods and reels! — that it simply must be blogged.

Odds of a Palin Facebook comment: High.

The Obama administration will accept no more public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters…

Consequently, unless anglers speak up and convince their Congressional representatives to stop this bureaucratic freight train, it appears that the task force will issue a final report for “marine spatial planning” by late March, with President Barack Obama then issuing an Executive Order to implement its recommendations — whatever they may be.

Led by NOAA’s Jane Lubchenco, the task force has shown no overt dislike of recreational angling, but its indifference to the economic, social and biological value of the sport has been deafening…

As ESPN previously reported, WWF, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, Pew Environment Group and others produced a document entitled “Transition Green” shortly after Obama was elected in 2008. What has happened since suggests that the task force has been in lockstep with that position paper

“With what’s being created, the same principles could apply inland as apply to the oceans,” he said. “Under the guise of ‘marine spatial planning’ entire watersheds could be shut down, even 2,000 miles up a river drainage from the ocean.

“Every angler needs to be aware because if it’s not happening in your backyard today or tomorrow, it will be eventually.

Granted, it’s worrisome that environmentalists seem to have captured the task force, but follow the link for details about how many jobs are at stake if angling gets scaled back dramatically to please the greens. Think The One’s going to hand Republicans that talking point in this political climate? How excited do you suppose red-district Democrats will be to see the White House bring down the hammer on fly fishermen with an election eight months away?

Sport Fishing magazine asked his campaign about new restrictions in September 2008 and got the following answer:

My administration would place the emphasis in fishery management where it belongs: in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of stocks through the use of effective and appropriate conservation measures. Such an approach would not provide a preference for one management tool, such as a marine reserve, over another. Given sufficient management controls and data, a fishery can meet conservation objectives through a variety of catch controls and habitat-protection measures, including gear restrictions, bag limits or closures. In some cases, additional conservation measures may need to be taken to ensure a positive recreational marine-fishing experience for future generations of Americans. Recreational fishermen have not shirked from embracing such measures when needed to achieve long-term stock sustainability, as long as measures are matched to the problem. While marine reserves may be an effective means of achieving important goals, their use and design must be based on an assessment of impacts and balanced by a strong respect for the ability of recreational anglers to practice their sport. In my view, we need to be open to the use of a variety of innovative conservation tools and be prepared to use them if the science justifies their establishment, and if it has been determined that less-restrictive options will not achieve critical goals like rebuilding fish stocks. The decision to establish marine reserves should be made as a result of a transparent, science-based process and be the least intrusive possible to get the job done. Such a process should include outreach to the sport-fishing community to explain both the scientific basis for the action and the expected conservation benefits to future fishing generations if it is to gain the community’s active support.

That bit about “balance” is an official Barack Obama campaign promise, baby, which means you can take it to the bank. Seriously, though: Given the backlash British pols faced a few years ago when they banned fox hunting (the sport has since flourished and the Tories say they want to repeal it) and given the deep but as yet unfounded suspicions about The One’s designs on guns, why would he pick a completely needless fight with rural voters? Explain to me how this makes sense for him.