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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana wetlands’

“We look forward to working with the Council as it continues to develop a comprehensive plan that will successfully restore the Gulf and the dynamic hunting and fishing industry this incredible ecosystem supports.”

New Orleans, LA (January 31, 2013)—The Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council released a “path forward” document this week broadly outlining how RESTORE Act funds can be used to restore the Gulf Coast.

20120218-123704.jpgLeaders of the Vanishing Paradise campaign, a nationwide sportsman’s effort to restore the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, say they are looking forward to working with the council as it further refines its plans to restore the fish and wildlife habitats of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Every single dollar we spend conserving habitat, restoring water quality, protecting coastal and marine resources, and enhancing community resiliency will come back to us many times over—positively affecting the nation’s economy now and for generations to come,” said Land Tawney, NWF’s senior manager for sportsmen leadership. “We look forward to working with the Council as it continues to develop a comprehensive plan that will successfully restore the Gulf and the dynamic hunting and fishing industry this incredible ecosystem supports.”

“Louisiana loses an area of marsh the size of a football field every hour,” DU Director of Public Policy and co-lead of Vanishing Paradise Barton James said. “The Council’s plan is another milestone in large-scale coastal restoration policy.”

“Louisiana’s coast hosts world class fishing and hunting and is an integral part of the health of the state’s and nation’s economy,” said Louisiana Wildlife Federation Coastal Outreach Coordinator Chris Macaluso. “Unfortunately the oil spill in 2010 heaped more damage on top of nearly a century of habitat loss in Louisiana that threatens coastal communities, economies and deep-rooted cultural ties to hunting and fishing. We need to build vital habitat restoration projects, some of which have been discussed and designed for decades. Importantly, the path forward also acknowledges the need to break down the bureaucratic impediments that have stalled large-scale coastal restoration efforts in our state.”

Background
The Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to restore the Gulf environment and the Council directly oversees expenditure of 30 percent of RESTORE Act funds for the ecological restoration projects specified in that comprehensive plan.

This “Path Forward” is the beginning of a process that will culminate in a plan scheduled to be completed and released in July 2013.

The Gulf states and federal agencies have already agreed to the strategy and restoration goals developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. These provide the basis for the large-scale restoration plan that is needed to make good on national promises to the Gulf region.

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Anglers’ expenditures have a significant impact on the nation’s economy

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Lew Carpenter of National Wildlife Federation, left, and Eric Cosby of Top Brass Tackle in the Mississippi River Delta with a bull redfish. Photo: Land Tawney

Recreational fishing is more than just a pleasant getaway for millions of Americans. As an industry, it provides a living for countless people in businesses ranging from fishing tackle and boating manufacturing to travel and hospitality to publications, magazines and much more.  As reported in Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, a new fishing statistics report produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry, the number of anglers increased 11 percent over the past five years and fishing tackle sales grew more than 16 percent. When expenditures are multiplied by our nation’s 60 million anglers, their dollars have a significant impact on our nation’s economy.

Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation highlights how recreational fishing not only endures as an activity that permeates all social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a significant role in the country’s most successful fisheries conservation efforts.

“As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on this nation’s economy,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Just by enjoying a day on the water, men, women and children across the United States pump billions of dollars into this country’s economy.”

Nussman further said, “And it’s not just the economy. In many ways, America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.”

According to the new study, America’s nearly 60 million anglers are estimated to spend $46 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Despite the economic difficulties facing the U.S. economy over the past five years; the total amount spent on sportfishing, which encompasses tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent.

A number of reports strongly indicate that fishing is identified by American families as one of the best ways to spend quality time together. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, fishing as a leisure-time activity ranks higher than playing basketball or softball, skateboarding, jogging or hiking.

Lew Carpenter hauls in a fine South Platte River brown. Photo: Matt Vincent

Lew Carpenter hauls in a fine South Platte River brown. Photo: Matt Vincent

“Despite the uncertain economic conditions that beset all Americas, or because of it, anglers continue to fish and spend even more time outdoors,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “A growing interest in the outdoors helped fuel the growth in angler numbers which we believe will create even more momentum in fishing participation and sales in 2013 and beyond.”

Substantially more than any other groups, anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. Special taxes on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channel more than $1 billion of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs each year.

ASA’s new analysis is based on data from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sportfishing in America was compiled for ASA by Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Facts about Recreational Fishing

·         There are approximately 60 million anglers in the U.S. of which 46 million are estimated to fish in a given year.

·         One of every four anglers fishes in saltwater.

·         Fishing tackle sales grew over 16 percent in the past five years.

·         Since 2006, angler numbers grew 11 percent.

·         More Americans fish than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined.

·         If fishing were a company, the amount spent by anglers to support fishing-related retail sales would rank number 51 on the Fortune 500™ list.

·         Fishing generated more revenue ($48 billion) than Lockheed Martin ($47 billion), Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) or Google ($38 billion).

·         The economic activity generated by sportfishing is greater than the economy, measured in Gross State Product, of 17 states.

·         At more than 46 million anglers, more than twice the number of people fished in 2011 than attended every NFL game combined.

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More than 650 outdoors companies and organizations sign on to letters calling for Gulf restoration

Washington, D.C., February 16, 2012—A group of more than 650 hunting, fishing and outdoor sporting businesses and organizations are sending two sign-on letters to Congress today with a clear message—restore the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf Coast, a vast complex of wildlife habitat that has faced high rates of landloss and suffered further degradation after the unprecedented 2010 oil spill. The letter comes at a critical time for Gulf restoration, as news reports indicate that BP is attempting this month to pay $20-$25 billion to settle with the Justice Department on all charges related to the spill.

The letters’ release was announced today, as outdoor equipment CEO’s and other representatives from the outdoor communities convened in the nation’s capital to urge members of Congress to move forward on the RESTORE Gulf Coast Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures that fines from last year’s oil spill are used to help restore the Gulf ecosystem.

The first letter was authored by Vanishing Paradise, a project of National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to unite sportsmen and women to restore Louisiana’s waterfowl and fishing habitats by reconnecting the Mississippi River with its wetlands. The letter asks Congress to secure significant investments for coastal restoration over the next five years, establish a new, dedicated funding stream for delta restoration and create a comprehensive restoration plan overseen by federal and state representatives with authority to implement the plan.

“In the spirit of Ding Darling, more than 650 hunting and fishing organizations and businesses from across the country are speaking out for the restoration of the Mississippi River Delta,” said Land Tawney, NWF’s senior manager for sportsmen leadership. “This collaboration ranges from local rod and gun clubs and mom and pop bait shops, to household names of national fishing and hunting manufacturers and sporting conservation organizations. We at Vanishing Paradise are truly humbled by the outpouring of nationwide support. Now it is time for Congress to take action and make the Gulf whole.”

“The delta has suffered years of damage and is being lost at an alarming rate—a football field of land disappears every hour,” Tawney continued. “The oil spill added insult to injury for this area and the entire Gulf region. Now is the time for Congress to pass the RESTORE Act, to ensure that oil spill fines reach the Gulf, where the latest round of damage was done.”

The second letter was signed by a group of 30 national conservation and outdoors organizations calling on Congress to move on the RESTORE Act, to move proactively toward using the Clean Water Act penalties assessed against BP and other companies toward comprehensive environmental and economic restoration of the Gulf.

A bipartisan poll this spring showed that 83 percent of voters nationwide support—and 69 percent strongly support—dedicating the Gulf oil spill penalties to restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast. The poll also showed that an overwhelming majority of conservative voters favor this proposal, including 76 percent of Republicans, and 78 percent of voters who agree with the Tea Party movement.

Nearly 500 miles—almost half—of the coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida that was contaminated by the Gulf oil spill remain oiled one year later, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration.

“Sportsmen around the Gulf and all those who call the region home want to see specific steps taken to restore the area’s natural resources,” said Geoff Mullins, senior director at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation partnership and Mobile, AL native. “It is a quality of life issue in numerous respects—from the recreational opportunities these resources offer to the significant dollars and jobs they bring to the local economies.”

“Restoring the Gulf and the Mississippi River Delta is an important issue for all sportsmen,” said Mike Iaconelli, 2003 Bassmasters Classic champion. “Those of us who hunt or fish need to step up and show we care about this issue. The disappearing Mississippi River Delta is not a problem we can’t fix, and Congress has a chance to do what’s right for the Gulf Coast. Now is the time for them to take action.”

“Recreational fishing contributes $41 billion dollars in economic output in the Gulf Coast region annually and supports more than 300,000 jobs. This economic engine will sputter if critical fisheries habitat is not better conserved and managed in the Gulf,” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association. “We urge Congress to act now to provide a much needed investment in business recovery and fisheries resources for the region.”

“Generations of Louisiana hunters and fishermen have enjoyed the rare bounty that Louisiana has offered from its rich estuary,” said Capt. Ryan Lambert, owner of Cajun Fishing Adventures, a fishing and waterfowl hunting lodge and guide service located near the mouth of the Mississippi River near Venice, Louisiana. “Every old timer has stories to tell of great times spent outdoors back in the day. Those great times are at the brink of being no more. Coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion have attacked our great state for 100 years, costing us 1883 square miles of precious wetlands thus far. Saltwater has intruded inland up to 80 miles killing even more freshwater marshes. If you want to pass on our great way of life to your grandchildren, the time to get involved is now.”

“All sportsmen in Louisiana need to get behind the restore act,” Lambert continued. “Please take the time to call your Senators for support of the RESTORE ACT. Better yet please get everyone you know outside of the state to call their legislatures. The Mississippi River built Louisiana and it is the only thing that can save our wetlands.”

“The Mississippi River Delta provides one of the most significant wintering habitats for waterfowl in North American and plays a starring role in our country’s rich waterfowl tradition,” said Mike Galloway, vice president of sales and marketing at Hard Core Brands International. “Hunting and fishing are also vital revenue streams for the nation’s economy. By passing the RESTORE Act and investing oil spill fines into restoring coastal wetlands, Congress is also investing in our national economy.”

“The comprehensive effects of the oil spill remain to be seen,” Tawney concluded. “Oil seeped into
marshes and wetlands that support many species of fish, waterfowl and other wildlife. We need Congress to act now to ensure that the penalties from the oil spill go toward making the delta and the Gulf region whole again, by restoring one of the most significant wintering areas for waterfowl in North America and an area that provides us with commercial and recreational fishing opportunities unlike any other.”

For more information, please visit http://www.vanishingparadise.org.

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