Dr. Jane Lubchenco, recently appointed Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, met July 23 with Southern California recreational fishing representatives, listening to their concerns and expressing her vision of NOAA's role in developing solutions for the region's unique conservation, fisheries management and access issues.
United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) President Steven Fukuto, UASC Vice President Dan Fink and UASC Fisheries Specialist Bob Osborn were among the small group of representatives selected to ask questions and voice concerns on behalf of recreational fishermen. Appropriately, the meeting took place in the galley of the 85' sportfishing boat Eldorado berthed at Long Beach Sportfishing, a recreational fishing business Fukuto has owned for many years.
"We're pleased that Dr. Lubchenco would take the time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us and listen to what we had to say," said Fukuto. "We had an opportunity to stress the importance of recreational fishing to our state's economy and culture, and shine a light on our long history as good stewards of our marine resources. We also let Dr. Lubchenco know that, on the whole, recreational anglers understand the need for further conservation and are willing to continue their role in fostering healthy marine ecosystems," added Fukuto.
"Saltwater anglers have their eyes on the water and a vested interest in sustaining fishing opportunities for their children and grandchildren," Lubchenco said in a news release recently issued by NOAA. "They are natural champions for ocean stewardship." The report went on to state that saltwater anglers demonstrated their conservation ethic by releasing an estimated 58-percent of the fish they caught in 2008.
During the meeting, Lubchenco expressed to the group her feelings about recreational fishing. "Recreational fishing is big business. More importantly, it's a wonderful way for people to be one with nature, having fun. It is part our heritage. The trick is, to do it in a way that allows for your kids and grandkids to do it with you in the future."
Lubchenco has been in Southern California for a series of National Science Advisory Board meetings taking place at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Justin Kenney, Director, NOAA Office of Communications; Dr. Jim Balsiger and Marty Golden of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Ken Franke; President of the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) and Tom Raftican and April Wakeman, representing the Sportfishing Conservancy. The meeting was coordinated by Golden, who is based in Long Beach and serves as NOAA Pacific Coast Recreational Fisheries Coordinator, Partnerships and Communications Division. "UASC would like to thank Marty very much for this opportunity to meet Dr. Lubchenco and express our views on behalf of Southern California's recreational fishermen," said Fukuto.
For more information, visit online at www.unitedanglers.com.