At a ceremony held on 10/20/2007 in Saint Michaels, Maryland, President George Bush signed a new executive order directing the federal government to make the striped bass a game fish in federal waters and encouraging states that haven’t already done so to adopt this management tool within their state waters.
This was the culmination of a great effort involving several leading recreational advocacy groups including The Coastal Conservation and Stripers Forever, environmental organizations like the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and fishing tackle manufacturers represented by the American Sportfishing Association. Stripers Forever President Brad Burns was among those asked to stand with President Bush as he signed the executive order. Other members of the Stripers Forever board were also in attendance. It is certainly very encouraging to see this uncommon level of cooperation from all sides.
President Bush made it clear that he is not against commercial fishing, but he does recognize that game fish designation is the best management tool for protecting certain species that are vital to the recreational fishing public. Striped bass and redfish are fished for recreationally for both sport and food by millions of Americans. Socio-economic studies show that the industry resulting from the recreational fishery is many times more valuable than that represented by harvesting the same fish commercially.
The executive order has no immediate and direct effect on state fishery regulations, but it does set an important precedent and displays a clear recognition of the values that Stripers Forever has put forth since its inception. It is now up to us and other recreational fishing advocates to build on this executive order. In the near future there will be a great opportunity for every member of SF to help us achieve the final goal of coast-wide designation of the striped bass as a game fish. Please be ready to help.
A complete copy of the executive order and photo of the ceremony are attached.