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Fishing Notes

Fishing, wildlife access funds top $740 million

More than $740 million will be distributed to fish and wildlife agencies nationwide to fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sportfishing equipment, electric outboard motors and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals more than $404 million. Sport Fish Restoration funds are apportioned to the states based on a formula that includes the land and water area, inland waters, the Great Lakes, marine coastal areas and the number of paid fishing license holders.

The Sport Fish Restoration funds are used to pay for stocking fish; acquiring and improving fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; maintaining public access, and the construction of boat ramps, fishing piers and other facilities for recreational boating access.

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Archive documents coastal history

A program documenting the coastal experience continues to grow.

Voices from the Fisheries is an archive of oral histories about fishermen and the families that rely on them. Each oral history provides an in-depth view of the personal and professional lives of its speakers. From a female angler to an industry veteran who documents the changes he’s witnessed, the accounts are varied in their scope.

The program, founded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and other community organizations, encourages those with personal oral histories to contribute them to the archive. Project participants include commercial, recreational or subsistence fishermen, fishery managers, scientists or those who have anglers in their family.

“All of us, as different as we may be, have common struggles and are often united by our experiences,” says Pinto da Silva, NOAA social scientist. “The human connection to our nation’s marine resources is one of those experiences we want to preserve and share. So many people have stories to tell, and we don’t want that history and perspective to be lost.”

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This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the July 2009 issue.