Interior Secretary orders the expansion of fishing opportunities

NATIONWIDE — The United States must expand fishing opportunities to anglers in order to bolster funding for conservation programs, according to an order issued by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Improving management of game species and their habitats is also a goal of the Trump Administration directive.

Zinke’s order specifically aims to enhance conservation stewardship, increase fishing opportunities for all Americans and placed greater priority on recruiting and retaining conservationists.

The Interior Secretary cited former Pres. Theodore Roosevelt’s conservationist policies and practices as a foundation for his order.

“For generations, countless Americans have hunted and fished across the nation’s natural landscapes and waters, enjoying opportunities steeped in traditions, rich in history, and integral to meeting many subsistence and sustenance needs, while also providing an effective means of managing various populations of wildlife species,” Zinke wrote in his order. “Robust and sustainable wildlife populations contribute greatly to our Nation’s well-being.”

Interior Department Order No. 3356 also stated revenue from license sales and excise taxes help fund various conservation programs, hence why a directive to increase fishing opportunities is necessary.

“Through the sale of licenses and sporting equipment, and associated excise taxes, sportsmen and women have helped generate billions of dollars in conservation funding each year. Expanding hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities will provide additional revenue for fish and wildlife conservation, and for many small rural communities across America,” Zinke’s order stated.

The order went into effect immediately after Zinke signed it and officially calls for the implementation of specific department recommendations “to enhance recreational fishing – specifically, those recommendations regarding efforts to enhance and expand recreational fishing access, where practicable.”

Zinke’s order, among other items, would also allow for the National Monuments Management Plans to be amended to “include or expand hunting, recreational shooting and fishing opportunities.”

The Interior Department would provide and regularly maintain an online database listing various fishing opportunities on certain federal lands or waters.

Veteran and youth fishing programs would also be pursued under Zinke’s order.

“The goal of attaining and sustaining healthy wildlife populations can also be achieved in concert with the varied nature of differing land uses and missions,” Zinke stated in his order.

Dana Wharf Sportfishing photo

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