We import 80 percent of the fish consumed in this country and
half of that is raised through aquaculture. If we’re going to continue to consume seafood, and at the same time continue to focus
on the opportunity to keep sustainable, “blue” jobs here, then
aquaculture fits into that equation, but we have to do it responsibly and in an ecologically sustainable manner. We have a lot of
aquaculture growth in shellfish, in closed systems, but there are
open-water and offshore opportunities [for finfish] that we ought
to be exploring.
Can you assure anglers that the Coastal and Marine Spatial
Planning process won’t be used to shut them out?
People fear the concept [of Marine Spatial Planning] but in my
view, as a recreational fisherman and as a person who enjoys being
out on the water, we ought to fear the lack of planning because
there are a whole bunch of new uses coming into play in our near-shore coastal and ocean waters. There’s growing interest in renewable energy, aquaculture, increasing ship traffic, and we’re seeing
firsthand in the Gulf of Mexico the implications of offshore oil and
gas exploration. Mixed in amongst new uses are traditional uses
like recreational and commercial fishing, and more importantly, the
need to protect important aquatic habitats. If we aren’t taking steps
now to effectively plan, we’re not going to be able to adequately
protect the quality of these natural systems or the quality of the
recreational and commercial opportunities that we expect.
How is the Gulf oil spill relevant to these management issues?
Like no other event in our recent history, the oil spill has really put
front-and-center across the country the clear connection between
our social and economic well-being and the health of our coastal
ecosystems. I talk to people in the Gulf Coast states and they have
very pressing economic concerns, but the one thing that carries
through is the understanding that they can survive the short-term
challenges as long as we, meaning all of us, can restore the ecosys-
tem over the long term. It’s the habitat and productivity of those
natural systems over the long term that is the ultimate challenge.
Now for a tough one. What does your family do on vacation?
We spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Our three daughters like
to fish and boat; they paddle kayaks. A few years ago, my wife and
two of our girls went away for the weekend so I was left with my
youngest. She was about 11, and I asked her, “Mattie, it’s just the
two of us, so what do you want to do?” She said, “Let’s go fishing!” So we did.
Associate Editor Ryck Lydecker is also a member of the BoatU.S.
Government Affairs staff. He works on policy issues regarding boating
access, sportfishing, and general boating topics.
An Update On The BoatU.S. “Most Wanted”
When Congress mandated an end to overfishing, BoatU.S.
Magazine published the status of the most important saltwater
sport-caught fish. At that time, all the stocks were considered
“overfished” and required aggressive rebuilding plans under
just-passed amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. For
the record, the results are positive. Our chart on the next page
shows how several are doing today.
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