Fisheries conservation gets a boost


President Clinton recently signed an executive order designed to strengthen fisheries conservation and provide for more, and better fishing opportunities.

The order, signed June 7, directs federal agencies to focus efforts to improve water quality in streams, lakes and rivers where there are recreational fisheries.

The order also creates a National Recreational Fisheries Coordination Council, which would look at the compatibility between the protection of endangered species and recreational fisheries, and expands the role of the federal Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.

"This is a huge step forward for recreational fishing in this country," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Mollie Beattie said. "The executive order opens a treasure trove of possible partnerships that will benefit tomorrow's angling public."

The key points of the order are:

* Federal agencies will identify degraded habitats and promote their restoration through partnerships with federal, state and tribal governments, private industry and landowners.

* The National Recreational Fisheries Coordination Council will draft a five-year, Recreational Fisheries Conservation Plan that will take into account social and economic values of strong aquatic resources, recommend reduction of overlapping federal programs and promote information sharing among its membership.

The council will be made up of representatives from the federal departments of Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, Transportation and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

* The USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which administer the Endangered Species Act, will develop within six months a joint policy to ensure consistency in administration of the act, enhance collaboration among agencies and increase outreach programs.

* Developments under the order will be monitored by the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, established in 1993 to advise the Interior Department on recreational fishing and boating issues.

Top 10 boat names

According to a survey by BOAT/U.S., the top 10 names chosen by recreational boaters in the United States are:

1. Obsession; 2. Odyssey; 3. Osprey; 4. Escape; 5. Liquid Asset; 6. Wet Dream; 7. Serenity; 8. Hakuna Matata (No Worries); 9. Fantasea; 10. Therapy.

Multifilament nets

The explosive issue of multifilament net use in the Chesapeake Bay and Tangier Sound this summer apparently will become a small bang, with eight to 10 netters allowed to use the drift gill nets while DNR completes a study. Last summer, there were six netters using the nets, made of twisted nylon.

Reportedly, certain areas of the bay -- including the Mud Leads on the eastern edge of the Middle Grounds -- will be off-limits to multifilament netters.

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