Today, several federal agencies released their “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful” report. The document provides initial recommendations on how to achieve the goal of conserving 30% of all U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030 – also known as “30 by 30” – as directed by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association representing the recreational fishing industry, expressed its appreciation for the report’s consistent acknowledgements of recreational fishing’s importance to the nation.

“The 30 by 30 initiative has generated a lot of attention within the recreational fishing community, not always in a positive way, due to concerns that it will be used as a means to arbitrarily restrict recreational fishing access,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “However, we are pleased that the Biden Administration is approaching 30 by 30 with an understanding of the significant cultural, economic and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation.”

Leonard further noted, “This report is notable not only for its incorporation of many positive strategies for how 30 by 30 should be implemented, including its emphasis on increasing access for outdoor recreation, but also for what it avoids, specifically by not recommending the pursuit of protected areas in which recreational fishing might be banned without a scientific basis.”

The “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful” report outlines a decade-long challenge to pursue a locally led and voluntary nationwide effort to conserve, connect and restore the U.S.’s lands, waters and wildlife. It outlines the following principles that will guide these conservation efforts:

  • Pursuing a collaborative and inclusive approach to conservation;
  • Conserving America’s lands and waters for the benefit of all people;
  • Supporting locally led and locally designed conservation efforts;
  • Honoring Tribal sovereignty and supporting the priorities of Tribal Nations;
  • Pursuing conservation and restoration approaches that create jobs and support healthy communities;
  • Honoring private property rights and supporting the voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners;
  • Using science as a guide; and
  • Building on existing tools and strategies with an emphasis on flexibility and adaptive approaches.

To help identify where the nation currently stands in relation to the 30 by 30 goal, the report calls for the development of “The American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas,” which would aggregate information from a wide range of sources to provide a baseline assessment of how much land, ocean and other waters in the U.S. are currently conserved or restored. This includes existing protections and designations on lands and waters across federal, state, local, Tribal, and private lands and waters across the nation, as well as marine fisheries conservation measures implemented by the Regional Fishery Management Councils.

“There are many valuable programs that benefit aquatic resource conservation and fishing opportunities, including the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plans, the National Marine Sanctuaries System, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and the newly-proposed Civilian Climate Corps,” said Leonard. “We appreciate that these are the types of legitimate conservation programs that the Biden Administration is prioritizing in its 30 by 30 plan. We look forward to continued dialogue with the administration to ensure 30 by 30 stays on the course set forth through this plan.”

For more information on the recreational fishing and hunting community’s position on 30 by 30, visit the Hunt Fish 30×30 website.