As the pending Gulf restoration plan is being developed, The Billfish Foundation is encouraging recreational anglers and boaters, especially those in the Gulf states most affected by the April 20 oil disaster, to urge the government to include the sportfishing segment in the plan.
"Boating and the sportfishing industry employ some 300,000 individuals in the region generating an economic stimulus of $41 billion dollars annually," said TBF president Ellen Peel.
"It includes a wide array of marine related manufacturing, sales, service and diverse support and enhancement businesses ranging from artists to yacht builders and brokers. The coastal towns, individuals and the recreational fishing and boating businesses suffered significant economic losses resulting from the oil disaster. Individuals who normally enjoy the Gulf's beautiful resources have been unable to do so in light of access issues and safety concerns," she added.
"If we are ever going to see positive changes in the Gulf, we must impress upon the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who is charged with writing the Gulf restoration plan, the need to include recreational fishing and boating as a major segment in it. E-mails are urgently needed to be sent to the secretary at: email@example.com," she emphasized.
A draft letter is included on the TBF website billfish.org for anglers to use or compose their own version. She said the critical point is to send it in now and encouraged anglers to pass it on to their friends so sportfishing and boating will be counted in the Gulf restoration plan.
For more on the TBF campaign please go to http://billfish.org/1206-gulf-thunder-campaign or call the TBF offices at (800) 438-8247.