The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and 44 other members of the Hunt Fish 30x30 Coalition submitted formal comments to the Federal Register regarding the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas (Atlas), a key component of the Biden Administration’s “America the Beautiful” Initiative, also referred to as “Thirty by Thirty.”
The recommendations urge the Administration to identify the lands and waters considered to be “conserved” based on conservation outcomes rather than arbitrary criteria. The groups also highlight the importance of working with entities such as state fish and wildlife management agencies, regional fish and wildlife management authorities, tribes, conservation-focused NGOs and private landowners who are most knowledgeable and best equipped to advance pragmatic and successful conservation efforts throughout the U.S.
“Thirty by Thirty” is a global initiative started by the environmental community that seeks to protect the Earth’s biodiversity and address climate change by protecting 30% of the planet’s lands and waters by the year 2030. “Thirty by Thirty” proposals were originally linked to global land and water protected area targets established by the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity.
“We are honored to endorse the recommendations made by the Hunt Fish 30x30 Coalition, as this group ensures that conservation is done in a way that preserves access for boater, anglers, hunter and all other types of outdoor enthusiasts,” said Chad Tokowicz, Government Relations Manager for the MRAA. “Users of these resources are the best conservationists and it is imperative the we develop a 30x30 plan that includes those who have been lifelong stewards of the very resources it seeks to benefit.”
The Hunt Fish 30x30 Coalition’s recommendations reflect the priorities first outlined in the “Hunting and Fishing Community Statement on the 30x30 Initiative” that was developed in response to “Thirty by Thirty” legislation introduced at the state level in 2020. In the statement signed by 66 sporting-conservation organizations, the Coalition highlights the important role sportsmen and sportswomen have played and continue to play in the conservation of fish, wildlife and natural ecosystems in the United States.
Recognizing this history of conservation successes, the current recommendations present an opportunity to advance pragmatic, effective conservation efforts while identifying several existing measures that should be included in the Atlas. The updated recommendations focus on empowering the entities best equipped to identify and advance effective conservation solutions by strongly encouraging the Administration to partner with these organizations during the development of the Atlas. Furthermore, the recommendations provide critical details on what the sporting-conservation community believes should and, often more importantly, should not be included as criteria for inclusion in the Atlas.
The organizations believe that for America the Beautiful to be successful, the following fundamental elements must be included in any “Thirty by Thirty” policy:
- Clearly defining “conservation” to support the active management and sustainable use of our nation’s public trust fish and wildlife resources.
- Collaborating closely with entities devoted to achieving measurable biodiversity conservation objectives, including:
- State fish and wildlife management agencies
- Regional fish and wildlife management bodies
- Members of the sporting-conservation community
- The more than 500 federally recognized Native American tribes
- Private landowners (through voluntary, incentive-based opportunities)
- Recognizing and including all efforts directly contributing to biodiversity conservation in the forthcoming American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, including those on lands managed for multiple uses.