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Marine Protected Areas – Elevating Recreational Fishing to a National Priority

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In spite of its substantial constituency and major economy, the interests of the recreational fishing community are not considered when critical federal budgets, policy and legislation are decided. Looking five years down the road, the math around permanent fishing access closures is sobering for people who just want to take their kids fishing. A recently announced new Marine Protected Area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence bans recreational fishing in a location rarely visited by anglers. Why would DFO ban recreational fishing where only a few people actually fish? Where are the maps that show what else is being planned in other regions? To learn more about Marine Protected Areas and policies relating to recreational fishing in Canada, please take the time to read this document prepared by the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association.

Angler Access to Marine and Freshwater Fisheries

Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association Position Statement Angler Access to Marine and Freshwater Fisheries June, 2015 It is a long standing policy of the federal, provincial and territorial governments to allow anglers (and hunters) public access to public lands and waters for recreational purposes consistent with sound conservation principles. Throughout Canada fish and wildlife is held in common ownership by the government for the benefit of all people. Governments allow sustainable use of sport fish by law, not market pressures, land ownership or special privilege. The public has input into how these resources are allocated and the democracy of fishing as a responsible use of a public resource is emphasized. In the European Model fish and wildlife were allocated by land ownership and privilege. In North America anyone in good standing can participate. This policy is reflected in the principles of our Crown lands and waters, national and provincial parks and should be reflected in any decision to implement protected areas in public waters – especially no-take areas. CSIA strongly supports scientifically based management of our marine and freshwater resources.  Anglers (and hunters) fund conservation and lead all other groups in efforts to benefit fish and wildlife, including species that are not harvested.  They have a long history of making sacrifices for the betterment of the resource. These accommodations have sometimes included targeted closures where the science has clearly indicated they are the best solutions to protect fish and sensitive habitat. Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) and Freshwater Protected Areas (FPA’s) should be just one tool among the options available for effective fisheries management. Because they can be the most draconian strategy to prevent angler access the use of MPA’s and FPA’s should be considered only [...]