CCA SC encourages Governor to reconsider access closures


“Given that fishing provides a valuable, needed, and traditional physical and mental outlet, we would like to encourage you to consider amending your executive order regarding the closure of public boat ramps and landings as soon as appropriate.”

CCA South Carolina asks Governor McMaster to revisit Executive Order closing public boat ramps and landings. The full letter is below.

 

April 9, 2020

 

The Honorable Henry McMaster                                               
Governor, State of South Carolina
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201

 

Dear Governor McMaster,

 

On behalf of the over 10,000 members, supporters, and volunteers across the Palmetto State as well as the state board of directors of Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina (CCA SC), I thank you for the leadership you have shown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your efforts to secure both the physical health and well-being of our citizens as well as the welfare of the state’s economy have been evident in your decisive actions. South Carolinians will remember your efforts justly.

 

As you are keenly aware, recreational saltwater fishing is a strong part of the fabric of South Carolina; both culturally and economically. While the stewardship of our envied coastal resources is mission centric to CCA SC, advocating for and advancing recreational saltwater anglers’ access to those resources is just as strong a part of our efforts. Given that fishing provides a valuable, needed, and traditional physical and mental outlet, we would like to encourage you to consider amending your executive order regarding the closure of public boat ramps and landings as soon as appropriate. Perhaps there are additional protocols that could be adopted to allow for the use of these public trust areas while maintaining the clearly warranted social distancing and gathering guidelines that are so important at this time.

 

To echo what the American Sportfishing Association said in their letter to you dated Friday, March 27, “Particularly during this pandemic, recreational fishing provides an ideal means for individuals and families to get outdoors and boost their physical and mental health in a way that doesn’t necessitate close contact with others”. Clearly, allowing South Carolina’s families to access the waterways of the state in a responsible manner was your intent, as is evident in the message that fishing has not been prohibited; however the closure of the public landings and ramps is a de facto closure of access for the vast majority of our state’s citizens. Many Governors have encouraged forms of outdoor recreation, such as recreational fishing, as a positive and appropriate activity compatible with social distancing guidelines. You have been a staunch advocate of that traditional activity during your time as Governor and the recreational saltwater fishing community values your commitment.    

 

CCA SC works tirelessly with state agencies, fisheries managers & law enforcement, and state and local officials to be a valued and trusted voice concerning marine conservation and angling advocacy issues. During this unprecedented time in our state and country’s history, South Carolinians are united in overcoming this great challenge and look to your leadership to provide the path. We urge you to please revisit this order and seek guidelines that would allow Palmetto State families the opportunity to use these resources as a vital re-set. If we can be of any assistance in that endeavor, please do not hesitate to contact us.    

 

Sincerely,
Jay Brown
CCA SC State Chapter Chairman