Bipartisan Red Snapper Bill Introduced
On December 1, 2202, Reps. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) and 12 of their colleagues introduced the Red Snapper Act. This bipartisan legislation would prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from implementing area closures in the South Atlantic until the South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count study is complete and the findings are integrated into the fishery’s stock assessment. ASA applauds the introduction of this bill, which prevents NOAA from making hasty and unscientific management actions.
ASA Mourns the Passing of Rep. McEachin
Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) passed away on November 28. An active member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. McEachin was a stalwart supporter of conservation and outdoor recreation. For example, Rep. McEachin introduced the Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act which would create a new grant program to support projects that take youth fishing in the ocean and Great Lakes. Rep. McEachin will be dearly missed.
American Fisheries Advisory Committee Selection Announced
Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard was selected to serve on the American Fisheries Advisory Committee. Established in May 2022 by the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act, the committee assists in making recommendations for Saltonstall-Kennedy priorities and grant award funding. Open to applicants from a variety of sectors, the 2023 Saltonstall-Kennedy grant competition offers $10 million to projects that aim to increase opportunities for U.S. fisheries. Committee members represent a variety of geographic regions and sectors, including processors, recreational and commercial fishermen, seafood farmers, fisheries scientists and regional fishery management council members. The committee will meet for the first time in Seattle, Wash., the week of December 12, 2022.
The Outdoor Recreation Economy Is Thriving, According to New Govt. Data
On November 9, 2022, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released national and state economic data illustrating outdoor recreation’s contribution to the economy in 2021. The outdoor recreation economy is strong, producing $862 billion in economic output. The sector accounts for 1.9% of the U.S. GDP and supports 4.5 million jobs. ASA President, Glenn Hughes summed up the news, saying:
“The outdoor recreation economy nearing $1 trillion in economic value is impressive yet unsurprising. With roughly 50 million anglers across the United States, recreational fishing is an important aspect of outdoor recreation, and we are proud to be part of an industry that is both growing in popularity and value. The BEA data reflects how important it is for Americans to continue to have access to clean waters and abundant fisheries, and we are honored to play an important role in growing our nation’s economy. ASA looks forward to increasing participation rates alongside the rest of the outdoor recreation industry and getting more Americans outside or on the water.”
Proposed Legislation to Create Chesapeake Bay National Recreation Area
Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. John Sarbanes (both D-Md.) released draft legislation to create a Chesapeake National Recreation Area (CNRA). By connecting a series of National Park Service sites and Bay properties, the legislation would create a unified recreation area. Lawmakers hope this would enhance public access, advance conservation and provide more federal resources to the iconic watershed. The CNRA would benefit the sportfishing community by increasing fishing access and investing in critical fisheries conservation. ASA participated on a diverse CNRA advisory committee to balance creating the Chesapeake Bay National Recreational Area with maintaining existing regulatory authority for recreational fishing activity in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Demolition Plan for Klamath River Dams Approved
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously to demolish four dams on the Klamath River. The demolition will restore salmon habitat in Southern Oregon and Northern California. After more than a century, salmon will be able to travel to spawning grounds the dams blocked. Now the decommission plan kicks off with removal of the three largest dams slated for 2024.
USTR Accepting Public Comments on Section 301 China Tariffs
As part of its review of Section 301 China tariffs, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is soliciting feedback on the impact of these tariffs. ASA encourages anyone in the sportfishing industry that has been impacted to participate in this process by submitting a public comment here. Separate from USTR’s review, ASA is urging Congress to pass legislation to reinstate all previously granted exclusions to Section 301 China tariffs and to establish a new process for additional exclusions.
Midterm Election Results
Ahead of midterms, Republicans were projected to claim majority in the House and Senate. While they now have a majority in the House, they were unsuccessful in claiming the Senate. In both chambers, margins are thin for the majority. Fortunately, sportfishing policy receives much bipartisan support, meaning there are still opportunities to advance policy that protects the resource and anglers’ access. For a more in-depth analysis about the midterm’s impact on the sportfishing community, listen to the latest Politics of Fish Podcast episode with George Cooper, ASA’s lobbyist and partner at Forbes-Tate Partners.
Stay Updated with The Sportfishing Advocate Blog
ASA’s number one role is advocating for the business interests of the sportfishing industry. ASA’s blog – The Sportfishing Advocate – seeks to explain in layman’s terms the often-complicated mechanisms behind legislative and regulatory policy decisions. Recent blogs include a summary of the most recent economic impact data for the outdoor recreation industry; an update from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting; an overview of ASA’s position on shark encounters; and a recap from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date on the blog posts and other ASA information.
Catch Up on The Politics of Fish Podcast
ASA’s podcast, The Politics of Fish, helps listeners better understand the complexities of the legislative and regulatory issues affecting sportfishing. Recent episodes include conversations with George Cooper, ASA’s lobbyist and partner at Forbes-Tate Partners; Bill Shedd, chairman and CEO of AFTCO; and Gary Jennings, Keep Florida Fishing’s director. New episodes are released biweekly, so stay tuned! Our archive of episodes is always available here.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 55 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate nearly $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for 800,000 people.