After years of often-bitter debate, The White House released its final version of the new National Ocean Policy this week. Sportsmen’s groups cheered. And jeered. The cup was half empty and full at the same time.
George Cooper, of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, explained:
“What a lot of us see in this document is as follow-through on commitments Deerin [Deerin Babb-Brott, Director of the National Ocean Council] made to us early on in the process to be more responsive to our community’s interests,” Cooper said. “We didn’t want to be lumped in with the commercial interests, we wanted to be recognized for our contributions through the excise taxes we pay for fisheries management, and we wanted recognition of the proper priority of public access and use of a public resources.
“If you read through this very concise document, you see those things mentioned. So, from our standpoint, it’s a start. Do we want to see more progress? Certainly. But this is really a big change from where this was a few years ago, when our issues were not really getting recognized.”