Just about everybody is familiar with the bizarre antics of
radical groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(PETA). PETA's agenda is simple, but devastating in its consequence:
Stop all fishing, outlaw dogs and cats as family pets and strip
the evil human population of all leather goods.
While PETA has gained notoriety for its movement, other groups
with equally radical agendas are moving in a quieter and
more effective manner to accomplish goals that, while somewhat
different, are equally at odds with truth and reason. Right now,
extremist environmental groups are waging a subtle battle in
California and other states for the public's premier coastal
recreational areas. Within the past year, schemes have been
hatched that would SHUT DOWN more than 60 percent of southern
California's best sport fishing grounds.
This anti-fishing campaign didn't start in California, and it
won't end there. Already, no fishing proposals have circulated
throughout New England, Florida and other parts of the Southeast.
It's just a matter of time before these well organized and richly
financed groups tell you that you're no longer welcome in your
These groups, in an ever-expanding campaign to increase membership
and advance their misguided agenda, have said to heck with America's
12 million saltwater anglers (not to mention the rest of the public).
The Ocean Conservancy for one proclaims that large swaths of ocean
should be turned into "ocean wilderness areas" where no one but a
privileged few should tread.
There's nothing wrong with the concept of protecting ocean areas,
but they should be modeled after our terrestrial system of national
parks where public recreation is allowed, but commercial exploitation
is not. Some of the nation's best freshwater fishing occurs in our
national parks, wildlife refuges and national forests.
We all want our oceans teeming with fish. They say the best way to
do that is to keep you - the public - out. They ignore the
effectiveness of proven conservation tools like bag limits, size
limits, and seasonal restrictions - tools that have returned
abundant striped bass, redfish and white sea bass to our coasts.
They also fail to appreciate the fundamental difference between
a family fishing on a Saturday afternoon and a factory trawler
indiscriminately dragging the sea floor for months on end.
The groups pushing to ban recreational fishing along thousands
of miles of our nation's coasts will succeed with their radical
agendas - unless we unite. Every real conservationist,
whether you are a recreational fisherman or not, needs to get
involved. You're not going to convince the radical elements to
change their ways. They're organized, they have money and they
have an agenda.
However, these groups can't keep out the public on their own.
They need to get key policymakers to implement their agenda.
You can stop these groups from having their way by making sure
that your elected officials and your state's fish and game
department hear YOUR voice. As a first step, go to
and tell them that you will not be kept out by narrow-minded
Tell them to protect the fish and your freedom to fish!
~ Mike Nussman