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 Home > News & Policies > October 2007

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 19, 2007

Fact Sheet: Guarding Against Over-Fishing Through Cooperative Conservation

     Fact sheet President Bush Signs Executive Order to Protect Striped Bass and Red Drum Fish Populations

President Bush Signs Executive Order Encouraging Conservation Of Two Of America's Most Popular Recreational Fish

On Saturday, October 20, President Bush visited the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, to sign an Executive Order to protect America's striped bass and red drum fish populations. Recreational fishing is important to sportsmen and women, to America's families, and to our economy recreational fishers spend more than $40 billion a year. Striped bass and red drum are two of our Nation's most popular recreational fish; yet while they were once abundant in America's waters, they have been over-fished.

  • The Executive Order the President signed sets a policy to conserve striped bass and red drum fish for the recreational, economic, and environmental benefit of present and future generations of Americans. The Executive Order:

    1. Moves to prohibit the sale of striped bass and red drum caught in Federal waters. The Order directs the Departments of Commerce and Interior to work with Federal and State officials on our fishery management councils and commissions to prohibit the sale of striped bass and red drum caught in Federal waters.

    2. Promotes more accurate scientific records about fish population levels. The Order encourages the periodic Federal review of the status of striped bass and red drum populations to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information for determining whether breeding stocks are attaining healthy numbers and size in Federal waters.

    • To improve the quality of our data, we are building a recreational saltwater registry that will collect information from sportsmen about local fish stocks, which will help us better protect striped bass, red drum, and all our fisheries.

    3. Helps the Federal government work with State and local officials to find innovative ways to conserve these species for future generations. The President is directing Federal agencies to work with State officials, while respecting the States' role in the management of the natural resources under their care, to find innovative ways to help conserve striped bass and red drum populations, including the use of the State designation of "gamefish," where appropriate, to prohibit commercial sales of the fish.

  • The Executive Order is based on the Administration's policies of cooperative conservation and responsible stewardship. To meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century, the President believes we must bring together conservationists, sportsmen, local leaders, and Federal, State, and tribal officials in a spirit of cooperation to protect and preserve our Nation's natural heritage.

Saturday's Action Will Advance The Administration's Efforts To End Over-Fishing In America, Replenish Our Nation's Fish Stocks, And Advance Cooperative Conservation And Responsible Stewardship

In 2004, the President released his Ocean Action Plan to promote responsible use and stewardship of our ocean and coastal resources. The plan focused on making our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes cleaner, healthier, and more productive.

  • In 2006, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. This action created the largest conservation area in the history of our Nation, and the largest protected marine area in the world.

  • In January, the President signed the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. This legislation has set a deadline to end over-fishing in America, which occurs when we catch fish from a species at a rate faster than they are reproducing, by 2011, and has authorized "limited access privilege programs" to set market-based incentives to help replenish our fish stocks. In 2005 the President set a goal to double the number of these programs by 2010, and we are on target to meet that goal.

  • In February, the President released his 2008 Budget, which included a $143 million Oceans Initiative to support the Ocean Action Plan priorities. The Oceans Initiative provided $38 million to protect and restore coastal and marine areas, including $8 million for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument; $25 million to end over-fishing and ensure sustainable use of ocean resources, including $6 million to implement Limited Access Privilege Programs; and $80 million to advance ocean science and research.

  • Major improvements have been made in the management of our Nation's marine fisheries. Important stocks such as Atlantic sea scallops and swordfish have been returned to productive levels. Since 2001, 29 stocks have been removed from the over-fished list, and rebuilding plans are in place for the more than 90 percent of the remaining over-fished stocks.

In addition to these efforts to end over-fishing, we are implementing a strategy to improve, restore, and replace three million acres of wetlands. These wetlands act as "nature's nurseries" by helping small fish survive and grow before they head to deeper waters.

  • We are working in our coastal areas to tackle the problem of marine debris, such as abandoned nets, which can destroy fish habitat. Next month we will announce a new strategy to deal with marine debris. We will:

    • Work with the private sector to clean up marine debris.

    • Educate the public on what they can do to prevent its spread.

    • Work with our partners in the international community to help stop marine debris from being dumped into oceans and waterways in the first place.

  • We are encouraging other nations to follow our lead and end destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling on coral reefs and the use of explosives and chemicals.

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