1. The Ban the Nets project, which virtually eliminated commercial fishing in Florida, is a great example of how angling groups and individuals can work together. The Save Our Sealife committee conducted a very effective petition drive on November. 10, 1992 by collecting over 200,000 signatures outside the poling sites in Florida. This might be the most successful one-day petition effort ever in America. Florida Sportsman and its publisher Karl Wickstrom were important players in this fight.
Ban the Nets had tremendous assistance from many outdoor writers, numerous associations and federations including Florida Conservation Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Tropical Audubon Society of Miami, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and others. The result: An overwhelming victory on November 8, 1994, when 72 percent of the people voted to ban the nets. The formula for success includes sportsmen, magazines, outdoor writers, grass roots campaigning and associations working together.
2. American anglers received great news when, on September 28, 1996, the U.S. Congress reauthorized a new, stronger fish conservation law (the Magnuson Act). The bill addresses America’s fisheries crisis by including provisions to: 1) eliminate overfishing and rebuilding depleted fish populations, 2) reduce wasteful bycatch, and 3) protect essential marine fish habitat.
The National Coalition for Marine Conservation (NCMC) and its Marine Fish Conservation Network developed the largest coalition ever for marine conservation. Explains Ken Hinman, NCMC president, “Two years ago, this Congress seemed intent on dismantling the nation’s environmental protections. Now the same body has given us the strongest fish conservation laws ever.”
Among the big players were the National Audubon Society, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Center for Marine Conservation, Sierra Club and others. But also joining in were Trout Unlimited, Fisheries Defense Fund, IGFA, Salt Water Sportsman, B.A.S.S., and more than 80 other organizations. Another great example of how angling coalitions can unite, seek help from others, and pass important laws.