ches-bayOn Saturday, President Bush visited the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, to sign an Executive Order to protect America’s striped bass and red drum fish populations from over-fishing.

The executive order moves to prohibit the sale of striped bass and red drum caught in federal waters. To improve the quality of our data, a recreational saltwater registry will collect information from sportsmen about local fish stocks. Federal agencies will work with state officials to implement innovative conservation measures, including the use of the state designation of “gamefish,” to prohibit commercial sales of the fish.

Saturday’s action follows the president’s signing in January of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. This legislation has set a deadline to end over-fishing in America, which occurs when we catch fish from a species at a rate faster than they are reproducing, by 2011, and has authorized “limited access privilege programs” to set market-based incentives to help replenish our fish stocks.

The 2008 White House budget includes $143 million to support the Ocean Action Plan priorities to protect and restore coastal and marine areas, including $8 million for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument; $25 million to end over-fishing and ensure sustainable use of ocean resources ($6 million to implement Limited Access Privilege Programs); and $80 million to advance ocean science and research.

The White House says major improvements have been made in the management of marine fisheries. Important stocks such as Atlantic sea scallops and swordfish have been returned to productive levels. Since 2001, 29 stocks have been removed from the over-fished list, and rebuilding plans are in place for the more than 90 percent of the remaining over-fished stocks.

(source:  White House Strategic Initiatives)

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