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September 07, 2012

The Politics Of Fish

Identifying the friends of saltwater anglers on Capitol Hill

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska

Mark Begich(Commerce, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Budget, Veterans’ Affairs)

Fishing is important in Alaska. Really ­important. So, not surprisingly, Mark Begich was an original co-sponsor of the Fishery Science Improvement Act. Fishermen were really pleased with his assignment as chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, which is responsible for federal fisheries matters. Begich also serves on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. His focus on fish has been central to his public service. Fishermen today enjoy great salmon fishing in the heart of Anchorage thanks to the award-winning Salmon in the City program Begich launched while mayor in 2007. No one can doubt that Begich is a real friend to fishermen.

Del. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam

Madeleine Bordallo(Natural Resources, Armed Services)

Madeleine Bordallo’s longtime ­commitment to marine conservation helped account for her being named 2009 Conservationist of the Year from the Center for Coastal Conservation. That honor had a great deal to do with Bordallo’s efforts in 2008 and 2009 in securing important changes to marine monuments proposed in the western Pacific. Bordallo’s position in the last Congress as chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife made her a key player in marine conservation. Never wavering in her support for recreational, indigenous and commercial fishing, Bordallo co-authored the Fishery Science Improvement Act, and has led efforts to tackle Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.

Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash.

Norm Dicks(Appropriations — ranking member)

One of the most enthusiastic anglers you could ever have on your boat, Norm Dicks’ name is synonymous with good fisheries management. He believes in it, and he has fought in Congress to fund it. Dicks is a veteran member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. First elected to Congress in 1976, he had served on the staff of the late Sen. Warren Magnuson, after whom the Magnuson Act was named (subsequently Magnuson-Stevens Act). He has been a major player in fish-and-game management for more than three decades. Wild salmon and salmon fishermen have been the biggest beneficiaries of his leadership. Dicks was at the center of the creation of the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund, which has restored and conserved approximately 1 million acres of habitat for salmonids since its creation in 1999. In addition, the congressman authored and funded the law to require the clipping of all adipose fins of hatchery salmon along the West Coast, to ensure the release of wild salmon hooked by anglers. The fish are losing a champion, as Rep. Dicks has announced his retirement at the ­conclusion of this term.