Shutting Us Out
On May 26, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order that directed the Commerce and Interior departments to develop a science-based network of marine protected areas (MPAs). The order did not provide for new funding or direction but did call for citizen input. A handful of prominent environmental groups saw the order as a quick fix for years of fisheries mismanagement. They interpreted "citizen input" as giving them carte blanche to help orchestrate the closure of all fishing-recreational and commercial-in key areas around the country, areas they would have major influence in designating. Truth be known, some fisheries managers, figuring to make their lives easier, also favored total bans rather than result-proven regulations on species, fishing methods, size limits and seasons.