People often ask why recreational anglers have such an adversarial relationship with the federal fisheries management system, and the answer is as simple as it is obvious. The National Marine Fisheries Service was created to assist and promote the domestic commercial fishing industry. Period. Only relatively recently did NMFS even begin to acknowledge a recreational component.
It is in the agency’s DNA to be a partner and collaborator with commercial fishing interests. Who is in the White House – Republican, Democrat or Other – doesn’t matter because the bureaucratic heritage at the agency never changes. You may get a new head of the Department of Commerce or a new administrator for NMFS, but the core pro-commercial mindset buried deep in the agency itself is virtually untouchable. Regional council members come and go, but federal and council staffers are the omnipresent architects of federal fisheries policy, crafting (or not crafting, as the case may be) the analysis and options that guide the councils on complicated matters.