As 2019 Wraps-Up, Sportfishing Achieves Increases in Federal Investments
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) successfully advocated for a wide range of fisheries programs that received a boost in federal resources with the passage of the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) federal spending legislation. Important programs such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, National Fish Hatchery System Operations and programs for addressing aquatic invasive species all received substantial funding increases. In a September news release, ASA outlined multiple funding priorities that were successfully included in the FY20 spending bills.
Sportfishing Community Scores Multiple Wins in December 2019
As Congress wrapped-up its last two weeks of 2019, the recreational fishing community achieved several key conservation priorities. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Fish Habitat Through Partnerships Act which was followed by a quick introduction in the U.S. Senate and passed unanimously in the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Conservation measures focused on the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay as well as protection of traditional fishing tackle were also passed out of the EPW Committee. Finally, the U.S. Department of Commerce demonstrated clear conservation leadership with the decision to crack down on Omega Protein violating the fishing cap on menhaden.
Review Process of Mining Project Near Boundary Waters to Begin
Twin Metals, a foreign-owned mining company, submitted their plan for operations beginning the regulatory review process by both the state of Minnesota and federal agencies. Just last month, Minnesota officials announced they would perform their own regulatory review in conjunction with the federal government. A thorough review must be conducted to make sure the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota, which offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the country, is conserved for future generations.
Restoring the Snake River’s Salmon and Steelhead Populations
Restoring the Pacific Northwest’s iconic salmon fisheries continues to be a highly debated topic for communities along Idaho’s Snake River. Earlier this month, Pacific Fisheries Policy Director Danielle Cloutier participated in The Salmon, Steelhead and the Outfitting Industry Forum hosted in Lewiston, Idaho. Cloutier pointed out during the panel discussion that the decline in salmon and steelhead populations have had a significant economic impact on the region and emphasized the need to keep all options available to restoring these iconic fish.
Reauthorizing the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund
ASA member and President of Z-Man Fishing Products, Daniel Nussbaum, outlined the need to reauthorize the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. In his opinion editorial published in a local South Carolina newspaper, Nussbaum described the Trust Fund as the “cornerstone of conservation funding” that has bolstered conservation efforts in South Carolina and across the country. Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Trust Fund has garnered bipartisan support from U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) and Garret Graves (R-La.).
DESCEND Act Continues to Build Bipartisan Support
The bipartisan DESCEND Act continues to build support in both chambers of Congress with the additional backing of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), U.S. Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.). The DESCEND Act would require commercial and recreational fishermen to possess a descending device rigged and ready for use or venting tool when fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico federal waters. ASA has promoted the DESCEND Act during an interview with America Outdoors Radio asking constituents to contact their representatives to support this conservation legislation.