Shimano Corporate Position Statement on Public Land and Water Access
Shimano strongly supports scientifically based management and environmentally sustainable uses of our freshwater, marine and land based natural resources. Anglers are conservationists first and foremost and have a long history of making sacrifices for the betterment of the fishery. Mountain bikers are dedicated conservationists who work on behalf of improving the natural areas and trails where they ride. Low impact recreational uses of fish, wildlife, water and lands can be maintained in perpetuity when properly managed.
Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) and Wilderness designations should be just one tool among the choice of options available for effective natural resource conservation. Because they can be the most draconian device, use of MPA’s and Wilderness designations should be considered only after conventional natural resource management measures have failed.
As with any good fish, wildlife or land management decision, discussions about measures that restrict public access to public resources must involve an open public process, a solid scientific basis, and specific guidelines on implementation and follow up. The establishment of any MPA or Wilderness area regardless of its level of restrictions or size should:
1) Be based on the best scientific information available;
2) Include criteria to assess the conservation benefits of the closed area;
3) Establish a timetable for review of the closed area’s performance that is consistent with the purposes of the closed area; and
4) Be based on an assessment of the benefits and impacts of the closure, including its size, in relation to other management measures ( either alone or in combination with such measures), including the benefits and impacts of limiting access to : users of the area, overall fishing / riding activity, fishery or natural resource science, and fishery and natural resource conservation.
It is a long-standing policy of all levels of government in the United States and Canada to allow public access to public lands and waters for recreational purposes consistent with sound science based conservation and sustainable use management. This policy is reflected in the principles of our public wildlife refuges, forests, parks and other public lands and waters and should be considered prior to any decision to implement MPA’s or Wilderness designations which restrict public access.
This policy also reflects the right of every person to experience the natural world in a manner of their choosing, in keeping with the sustainable use doctrine and the North American model of natural resource management which has served our public lands, waters and fish and wildlife so very well for decades.
Access to Marine Fishing is in Danger
There is a new threat to sportfishing in the United States—the banning of recreational fishing in coastal waters as a means to manage fish populations.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were originally intended to restrict the serious impacts of commercial fishing on a few species. But, MPAs have been expanded to now include restricting low impact recreational fishing on all species. The establishment of MPAs is leading increasingly to the creation of no-fishing zones, which result in significant permanent closures for recreational saltwater fishing.
This is possibly one of the most significant threats to the future of sportfishing. Banning sportfishing is an unprecedented step and runs counter to the proven methods of fisheries conservation management that have served recreational anglers well for decades.
The MPA precedent for widespread North American recreational fishing closures has its origins in California coastal waters under state jurisdiction, extending to the three mile limit. The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 2003 and resulted in 175 square miles of closures to sportfishing. No fishing zones in the Channel Islands could cost California's economy over $100 million in direct expenditures and up to 2,700 jobs. Additionally, the state’s Marine Life Protection Act has already closed 85 square miles of California central coast waters to anglers, and implementation is just beginning. Although California is at the forefront of using closures as the “new fishery science,” other coastal areas are also being pressed to consider the same measures.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Protected Areas Center has also weighed in, recently publishing a ‘Draft Framework for Developing the National System of Marine Protected Areas’ (Draft). The most glaring omission in the Draft is the issue of access to and use of marine resources within an MPA. The Draft currently does not require that national MPAs be designated through a balanced process that takes the interests of the sportfishing community into consideration. There is also an attempt to overrule the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, under which substantial gains for sustainable fisheries have been achieved. Through this Act, many fish stocks are on the road to recovery.
The Sportfishing Community’s Position
There is a fundamental difference between a family enjoying a day's fishing and a commercial fishing crew fishing for profit. This point is often overlooked by those who advocate for no-fishing zones. Conservation organizations, angler groups, the sportfishing industry and others strongly support both conserving our fish and waters while protecting the public's right to access all areas along our nation's coastlines and to enjoy the sport of fishing. These two concepts are compatible.
Many current proposals to restrict recreational fishing are not based on sound scientific evidence. Every angler on the water today is governed by a strict set of regulations that have been proven to conserve fish and their habitats.
Occasionally these regulations do include well-defined, scientifically-based closed areas which are supported by anglers. However, the angling community is not likely to support no-fishing zones when other less drastic, yet equally effective options are available. These bans on fishing not only adversely affect the recreation of 13 million saltwater anglers and their families, but also have significant economic impacts on businesses and communities that depend on recreation and tourism.
The sportfishing community is developing a program to achieve greater balance in the process of closure designation, including better consideration of the science, and a more balanced and thoughtful approach so that sportfishing prohibitions are limited to areas in which they are clearly beneficial to the health of the fishery.
Learn more about how you can keep America fishing: KeepAmericaFishing.org.