The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

October Policy Watch from the ASA

From October 25-28, sportfishing industry leaders convened in New Orleans, La., for the Sportfishing Summit, ASA’s annual business meeting. As part of the busy agenda, ASA’s Government Affairs Committee held meetings over the two days to discuss and develop strategy around top legislative and policy issues. Important action items included:

The ASA Government Affairs team thanks the committee chairs and members for their time and commitment.

Flaws in the Proposed Right Whale Vessel Speed Restriction

North Atlantic right whales are an important species, and their endangered status calls for urgent conservation efforts. Unfortunately, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) attempt to protect right whales misses the mark and instead would create major economic consequences. The chance of a 35 to 65-foot recreational vessel striking a right whale during an offshore fishing trip is less than one-in-a-million. ASA submitted comments identifying numerous flaws in NMFS’s analysis and requesting this rule to be paused and reevaluated in consultation with the recreational fishing and boating community. See comments submitted by ASA and partner organizations for more information.

NOAA Releases Plan to Address Coral Disease 

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease has decimated coral in Florida and the Caribbean. The cause and method of transmission are unknown, and in some areas, 80% of the reef is impacted. The disease is 100% fatal for affected corals. NOAA’s plan outlines goals and objectives to respond to the disease outbreak, coordinate regional efforts and prevent further spread to the Indo-Pacific region. ASA has previously worked with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and state legislature to secure state funding for treatment of the outbreak, restoration strategies and increased resiliency. At the federal level, ASA has advocated for reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Program to address the urgent needs of our coral reefs. Combating coral disease is important to protecting the habitat on which fisheries rely.

Recreational Fishing and Boating Community Supports REEF Act

ASA recently spearheaded a letter from the recreational fishing and boating community in support of including the Reusing Equipment for Environmental Fortification (REEF) Act (S. 2946/H.R. 5306) in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. The REEF Act would provide opportunities for retired naval vessels to be considered for artificial reefs, which would boost the marine environment and provide recreational fishing opportunities. This legislation would benefit marine life and anglers, along with local economies that can benefit from the spending power of anglers. Read the support letter here.

New Washington Partnership to Protect Hunting, Fishing and Trapping

In Washington state, hunting, fishing and trapping advocates, including ASA, formed the Washington Fish and Wildlife Conservation Partnership (WFWCP). The partnership came together to protect the state’s outdoor heritage after the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission canceled the spring bear hunt. WFWCP plans to focus on commission appointments and key policy issues and defending the sporting community from anti-hunting and angling groups.

Offshore Wind Energy Development News 

October was a big month for offshore wind energy development announcements. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced their intention to hold the first-ever Pacific offshore wind energy lease sale. The sale will commence on December 6, 2022, and will offer leases for areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off central and northern California. The Biden administration announced a $30 million investment plan that would use money from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to lower costs for wind energy projects. NOAA Fisheries and the Interior Department announced the release of a draft north Atlantic right whale and offshore wind strategy. The strategy seeks to aid the endangered right whale’s recovery, while encouraging offshore wind development. Collectively, these offshore wind development announcements advance the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

ASA Supports National Climate Resilience Bill   

ASA and a coalition of conservation organizations sent a letter of support for the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (H.R.6461 and S.3531). Led by Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Maria Salazar (R- Fla.) and Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), this bill would authorize the development of a National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy and Implementation Plan. By consolidating federal efforts, this bill would ensure that the economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change are thoroughly addressed and accounted for in resiliency and adaptation strategies. Read the support letter here.

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 – provides clear and concise explanations for the often-complicated mechanisms behind legislative and regulatory policy decisions. Recent blogs include an update of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings. 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 has been helping listeners better understand the complexities of the legislative and regulatory issues affecting sportfishing. New episodes include conversations with Bill Shedd of AFTCO, Gary Jennings, ASA Keep Florida Fishing Director and Phil Lillo, ASA’s new Chairman of the Board of Directors. New episodes are released biweekly, so stay tuned! Our archive of episodes is always available here.

If there is an issue that you are concerned about or would like to discuss, please contact Mike Leonard by email or at (703) 519-9691 x 230.

About

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.

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