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Entries in Congress (39)

Monday
May112015

Lawmakers Recognize Recreational Fishing Priorities, But Not Call to Transfer Red Snapper Management to States

A bill that addresses top priorities of the recreational fishing community has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. Sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), H.R. 1335, also reauthorizes  the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

But lawmakers failed to include an amendment offered by Congressman Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) that would transfer management Gulf of Mexico red snapper to the five Gulf states failed to be included. Several committee members agreed, however, that Gulf red snapper management is broken and in need of significant changes.

“We hope that as MSA moves forward there will be additional opportunities to enact the Gulf states' plan,” said Patrick Murray, president of the Coastal Conservation Association. “MSA’s reauthorization surely has a long road ahead, but H.R. 1335 provides the recreational fishing community with a very solid first step.”

The priorities addressed originally were identified by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, also known as the Morris-Deal Commission in honor of co-chairs Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boats.

Recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission include the following:

  •  Establishing a national policy for recreational fishing
  • Adopting a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management
  • Allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation
  • Creating reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines
  • Codifying a process for cooperative management
  • Managing for the forage base

“The nation’s 11 million saltwater recreational anglers have a $70 billion economic impact annually and support 450,000 jobs,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

“However, federal marine fisheries management has never sufficiently acknowledged the importance of recreational fishing to the nation. H.R. 1335 would enact many of the necessary changes to elevate saltwater recreational fishing to the level it deserves.”

One of the recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission was addressed by an amendment offered by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina) that would prompt a review of quota allocations in fisheries in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico with both a commercial and recreational component. Despite the tremendous importance that allocation decisions have in maximizing the benefits that our fisheries provide to the nation, federal fisheries managers have not revisited allocations – most of which were determined decades ago – primarily because of a lack of clear guidance on how decisions should be made and because these decisions are inherently difficult.

“Congressman Duncan's amendment is a significant achievement for ensuring that the benefits of our nation's fisheries are maximized,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “For far too long, allocations have been rusted shut, and we applaud Congressman Duncan for his leadership on this critically important issue.”

Wednesday
Apr292015

Industry Leaders Advocate for Legislation on Behalf of Anglers

Fishing industry leaders met recently with members of Congress or their staff to advocate for issues of concern to the industry and anglers nationwide.

 Issues discussed with included passage of the Sportsmen’s Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act reauthorization and reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Key regional issues  included the proposed marine reserve in Biscayne National Park (Florida), impacts of the drought on California salmon and federal mismanagement of Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper, which impacts the entire Gulf area.

“This was a great opportunity for our members and legislators to meet face-to-face and talk about issues of critical importance to the sportfishing industry,” said Scott Gudes, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

“Our elected officials need to hear first-hand from industry leaders from across the country about the importance of salt and freshwater recreational fishing to the economy, to jobs and to conservation to help ensure that our sport is enjoyed by future generations.”

The ASA Government Affairs Committee consists of 30 individuals, representing a wide array of industry members from across the country. The committee meets twice a year to discuss key legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry and to guide ASA’s positions and activities regarding these issues.

During its meeting, the Government Affairs Committee passed a motion to develop a comprehensive education campaign on the important role anglers and boaters play in fisheries conservation funding. Working with partners in the recreational fishing community, the campaign will target fisheries managers, legislators and the general public to raise awareness of the more than $1 billion that anglers and boaters contribute annually to fisheries conservation and public access projects through fishing license fees and excise taxes. 

Wednesday
Mar252015

Boaters Who Don't Want More Corn In Their Gas Tanks Need to Speak Up Now

Ethanol damage

THE ISSUE: The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the 2005 federal law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When it was written, it assumed that America's use of gasoline would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined steadily, which today forces more ethanol into less gasoline.

To keep up with this RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 (fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines like lawnmowers and leaf blowers, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found at more than 100 stations in 16 states at the very same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.

More than 60 percent of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) half million members as well as millions of recreational boaters fill their boat's fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk.

ACTION NEEDED NOW: For years, BoatUS has been battling in Washington to make sure recreational boat owners can buy gasoline that works with their recreational boat engines. Senators Diane Feinstein and Pat Toomey have now introduced S. 577, the "Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015" in the US Senate.

This bill, which has both Democrat and Republican support, will effectively remove the government mandate for higher blends of corn-based ethanol fuels (more than 10 percent) and allow for investment in other more compatible biofuels. BoatUS believes it is a critical step to solving the ethanol issue and urges America's boat owners to contact their Senators now to become  co-sponsors and supporters of S. 577. Boaters can do this here. For more on the Renewable Fuel Standard go here.

From BoatU.S.

Friday
Mar132015

Support Sportsmen's Act: Keep America Fishing

By now, you have probably heard about the Sportsmen’s Act.  On February 5, an updated and reenergized version was introduced. So far, it is getting support from both sides of the aisle but it needs your help to get passed into law.  Here you’ll find the information and tools you need to tell Congress to support the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015.

Thursday
Feb262015

Congress Stops Lead Ban Attempts for 2015

Congress stood solidly on the side of anglers and hunters late last year, as it specified in an appropriations bill that unwarranted regulation of fishing tackle and ammunition with lead components via the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) would be banned during the 2015 fiscal year.

“We applaud Congressional leadership for protecting the nation’s 60 million anglers from unjustified restrictions on fishing equipment that anglers have safely used for decades,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association.

Section 425 of the $1.1 trillion bill states, “None of the funds made available by this or any other act may be used to regulate the lead content of ammunition, ammunition components, or fishing tackle . . .”

But the fix is only temporary. Should Congress pass the Sportsmen’s Package Bill in 2015, which was derailed by last year’s Senate, the protection could become permanent.

During the past few years, environmental and other groups persistently have lobbied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban use of lead by anglers, hunters, and shooters.

“On multiple occasions, the Environmental Protection Agency has been petitioned by anti-fishing organizations to federally ban fishing tackle containing lead based on its impact on wildlife, a position that is not based on sound science,” Nussman added.