Dear Mr. Rossignol,
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the National Ocean and Great Lakes Policy report recently released by the Ocean Policy Task Force. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I share your concerns about this report.
As you know, President Obama created the Ocean Policy Task Force to develop a national policy for conserving and managing resources in U.S. marine waters and the Great Lakes. In the released interim report, no mention was made of the importance and contributions of sport fishermen to both marine conservation and economic activity in coastal communities. This omission has led to fears that decisions made using the proposed policy could lead to closure of some marine and Great Lakes waters to recreational fishing.
Like you, I am astonished that the Ocean Policy Task Force did not take into account the valuable contributions of recreational fishermen. Recreational fishermen provide most of the funding for fisheries conservation through license fees and excise taxes paid on recreational fishing equipment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also determined that recreational saltwater anglers contribute $82 billion annually to the economy, and their economic importance is magnified in coastal communities. As a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over this issue, I will fight to ensure that the contributions of recreational anglers to marine conservation are acknowledged in the final policy report, and I will vigorously oppose any efforts to close areas of our oceans or the Great Lakes to recreational fishing.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about any other issue important to you.
Senator David Vitter
United States Senator