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September 19, 2012

Presidential Candidates' Views On Issues Impacting Anglers

We asked. They answered. You decide.

"The following is from"

You rarely hear the presidential candidates speak to recreational fishing while on the campaign trail so to provide insight into each of the candidate's views on issues important to you, we asked each candidate eight questions.

At KeepAmericaFishing, we want our nation's anglers - such as you - to be informed, united with one voice and participating in the issues that concern recreational fishing both locally and nationally. We hope the responses provide you some insight about the candidates' views on issues that impact recreational fishing and give you a basis to judge which candidate best serves the interests of you, the angler.

We encourage you to both vote on November 6 and continue to voice your viewpoint to policy makers on recreational fishing issues through KeepAmericaFishing.

1. Recreational anglers in America are always curious to know if their leaders are also recreational anglers. Please, tell our members about your angling experiences.

President Barack Obama: Although I grew up fishing with my friends and grandfather in Hawaii, I am not an avid sportsman and do not claim to be. I do, however, understand the importance of our nation's outdoor heritage and the key role that sportsmen play in the conservation of our natural resources. On the campaign trail in '08 I had the opportunity to spend some time in Montana and decided that, win or lose, I would go back there and learn to fly fish. After taking office, I was fortunate enough to return to the state and fish the East Gallatin River. Despite having excellent guides and getting a few bites, the weather was tough that day and I didn't land a fish. I really enjoyed the challenge of fly fishing and I'm looking forward to doing it more. I want to try for trout again but would also like to try saltwater and maybe catch a tarpon.

Governor Mitt Romney: Growing up in Michigan, fishing was a prominent pastime in the area, and I truly understand the valuable role recreational fishermen play both in our economy and our environment. As a boy, I fished with my dad, and in recent years, I went fishing in Alaska with my son, Matt. Though my schedule makes these types of trips rarer than I would like, I realize that fishing is one of America's great opportunities to connect with family, friends, and nature. As president, those in my administration will work with fishermen to protect this great American heritage.

I gained a better understanding of the concerns and motivations of fishermen as governor of a coastal state. In Massachusetts, I was able to work with both commercial and recreational fisherman to ensure that our state's policies met their needs and that my administration understood their concerns. As president, I will draw on these personal and professional experiences to advocate for America's fishing community.

2. What do you believe are some of the leading threats to our nation's fisheries and recreational fishing itself?

President Barack Obama: The best things that we can do to overcome todays leading threats and ensure the long-term health of ocean fisheries and other marine life is to find solutions that can allow anglers to have longer and more predictable seasons. Management based on sound science is the best way to strike a balance between those who rely on our fishery resources today and those who will use them tomorrow. In order to achieve this balance, we are assessing fish stocks more frequently, consulting more closely with fisherman and other local experts, and getting more accurate counts as a result.

My administration is also working with recreational fishing organizations, the country's leading fishery scientists and state agencies on a bottom up approach to conserving our fisheries. Through FishSmart, we are helping recreational anglers do what they've always been willing to do: adjust their fishing techniques and equipment to conserve fish for the wellbeing of their sport and oceans.

We are also investing in more assessments – boosting funding over the past three years – so we have the most accurate data possible on the health of our fisheries. In doing so, we are working with partners across the country, bringing saltwater anglers into the process of counting the fish in our oceans to contribute to the science that builds our policies.

Governor Mitt Romney: The state of our economy is a very serious threat to our nation's fisheries and recreational fishing. Right now fishermen are concerned about how to pay their bills and what the future will hold for them and their families. The comfort of being out on the water is a little less relaxing for recreational fishermen when they are worried about the price at the pump. Fuel prices are a serious concern for not only recreational fishermen, but commercial fishermen who see their profits declining and their fuel cost rising. As president, I will invest in our domestic energy resources to make North America energy independent by 2020.

Lastly, the Obama Administration's policies should concern fishermen, specifically their heavy handed, Washington knows best approach. As president, I will take a different approach. If there is no strong biological reason to limit fishing for the purpose of protecting fish populations, I will always stand with American anglers who have been the back bone of watershed and fisheries protection.

Next, see our exclusive interview with Obama on fisheries or click below to view the subsequent questions.