With a stroke of a pen, President Bush safeguarded recreational angling as a sustainable activity on federally controlled lands and waters on Friday, Sept. 26. By amending Executive Order 12962 (first ordered in 1995 by President Clinton), he ensured recreational angling will be a priority for federal aquatic resource management and policy initiatives now and in the future.
Specifically, the amendment states, "recreational fishing shall be managed as a sustainable activity in national wildlife refuges, national parks, national monuments, national marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas, or any other relevant conservation or management areas or activities under any federal authority, consistent with applicable law."
Negotiations with the White House were initiated by the recreational angling community over growing concerns with the proliferation of marine protected areas and sanctuaries excluding recreational angling activities without any scientific justification or reasoning.
"Although the conversations leading up to this order were marine-based, President Bush recognized the importance of recreational angling to all Americans, and extended the protection to federally controlled inland waters as well. The president has truly done all anglers a great service. As one of those anglers, I will be forever grateful," said BASS Conservation Director, Chris Horton. "I'd also like to thank the American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and Shimano America Corporation for their diligence and leadership throughout the process to achieve this important precedent."
Among those working with the president on the Executive Order was BASS founder Ray Scott, whose relationship with the White House and the Bush family was instrumental in helping the administration understand the importance of recreational angling to the people and the economy of the United States.
"Ray continues to be a strong, effective voice for anglers everywhere. Many thanks to him for continuing to be there for us and the future of angling," acknowledged Horton.