Conservation Update: Go Fishing, Create Jobs

Fisheries Programs Tip the Economic Scale

Here's even more ammunition for conservationists fighting the claim that the nation "can't afford" conservation spending in these tough economic times: A new report proves fisheries conservation programs contribute $3.6 billion to the nation's economy, and supports 68,000 jobs across the country.

The report "Conservation America's Fisheries, An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation" was released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency.

You've been seeing a steady stream of these "environmental protection creates jobs" stories lately for good reason. Since the Great Recession began in 2008, business lobbies such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute have spent hundreds of millions telling Congress and the American public that the nation should roll back protection for fish and wildlife habitat because they cut industry profits and "kill jobs."

But the recreation and conservation industries are now fighting back, showing just the opposite is true. In fact, one in 20 U.S. jobs is in recreation, many of which would be threatened by reducing or eliminating protection for the nation's public lands, water and air. You can read the full report on fisheries conservation impacts here. And for a look at the truly staggering economic impact of outdoors recreation--which contributes to four million American jobs, $1.06 trillion in total economic impact, and $107 billion annually generated in tax revenue--go here.

America's Great Outdoors Coming to Your State

The Department of Interior has released the list of 100 projects--50 in each state--that have become a keystone of its America's Great Outdoor Project, a program designed to reconnect Americans with outdoor recreation. Many of those listed could significantly aid fish and wildlife conservation, such as the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area, an important initiative to protect the heart of waterfowl production in North America.

Of course, Congress will have a lot to say about just how many of these Top 100 projects ever get financed. But at least the ideas, which were approved after a series of nationwide public meetings, will give them an idea of what sportsmen and women want and need. You can locate your state's projects at this interactive map. To read the report on all 50 states, go here.

Commercial Netters to be Turned Loose on Kentucky's Asian Carp

Sports fishers have long claimed commercial netting was a lake's worst nightmare. But Kentucky is turning to that ancient method of fish harvest to help it battle the invasion of Asian carp in famed Kentucky and Barkley lakes.

The Fisheries Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says commercial netting is the most economic and efficient way to control the fast-growing invaders, which present a hazard to boaters, as well as native fish populations. It plans to permit commercial netters to pursue the carp, but only when they are accompanied by agency observers and trained volunteers. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will post commercial fishing information and data from this program online. The agency will outline the program during a public meeting set for seven p.m. on November 15th, at the Kentucky Dam Village Convention Center., at Ketucky Dam Village State Resort Park in Gilbertsville.