Members of the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) on November 19 hailed the bipartisan passage of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Introduced by CSC Members Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Senator Martin Heinrich (NM), with original cosponsors CSC Co-Chairs Senator Jim Risch (ID) and Senator Joe Manchin (WV), and CSC Vice-Chairs Senator Deb Fischer (NE) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND), the bill passed the committee by a bipartisan voice vote.
The Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 builds on last year’s bipartisan legislation, which had 46 cosponsors and is supported by nearly 50 national sportsmen’s conservation groups. The bill includes updates of all of last year’s provisions plus some additional provisions that increase access to federal lands for the benefit of sportsmen and women.
In a testimony before the Committee in March, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane spoke in favor of the bill on behalf of the sportsmen’s community. “Conservation, hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and our outdoor traditions are not defined by or constrained to any partisan label. We are sportsmen and women because we care about America's great outdoors, regardless of political affiliation,” said Crane.
“Whether you hunt or fish to put food on the table, to pass down a tradition to your family, or for game management purposes, there is something in this bill for you. With more than a half-a-million sportsmen and women in Idaho alone, this legislation will ensure they can continue to access their favorite hunting or fishing spot. I commend Senators Murkowski and Heinrich for their work to get this bill through the committee today and urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the bill on the Senate floor,” - Sen. Jim Risch (ID), CSC Co-Chair.
“As a lifelong and avid sportsman, I know firsthand that our hunting, fishing and outdoor heritage is so important to who we are as West Virginians and as Americans. I believe that we should protect our American traditions like fishing and hunting that define who we are as a nation. This bipartisan bill will boost West Virginia’s economy while expanding hunting and fishing rights and allowing people a greater ability to enjoy the outdoors.” – Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), CSC Co-Chair.
“Outdoor recreation is part of the Nebraska way of life. Today was an important step forward for bipartisan legislation that will promote our country's hunting, fishing, and conservation heritage. I hope the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will swiftly consider this bill so that a final proposal can advance to the Senate floor.” – Sen. Deb Fischer (NE), CSC Vice-Chair.
"Hunting and fishing are at the heart of what makes North Dakota's outdoor spaces so special. Our bipartisan bill would expand opportunities for North Dakota hunters and anglers, while also preserving our vast and beautiful outdoor spaces for generations of sportsmen to come. Millions across our country enjoy outdoor recreation in North Dakota and beyond every year, and I'll keep working to make sure the outdoors are accessible and well taken care of into the future." – Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), CSC Vice-Chair.
“The Sportsman’s Act celebrates some of our nation’s longest-standing traditions and will benefit millions of Americans who love fishing, hunting, recreational shooting, and a wide range of other outdoor activities. It will ensure that our public lands are open unless closed, provide new opportunities for more Americans to enjoy those lands, and require federal agencies to expand and enhance access in accordance with their missions. As a sportswoman, I am proud of the work we have done today to advance this important bipartisan effort.” – Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK), CSC Member.
“The Sportsmen’s Act has been a long time in the making, and I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Senator Murkowski. Hunting and fishing are an integral part of our American heritage, but without our public lands, that tradition will be lost. This bill will make sure our kids and grandkids will be catching trout and chasing mule deer on our public lands for many years to come. Hunters and anglers alone spend more than $613 million per year in New Mexico, and outdoor recreation as a whole is directly responsible for 68,000 jobs in our state. The Sportsmen’s Act will enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation, reauthorize key conservation programs, improve access to our public lands, and boost our economy." – Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM), CSC Member.
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- Granting full management authority (stock assessments, management of both commercial and recreational sectors, etc.) to the five Gulf states. (30.43%)
- Extending the states’ current 9-mile management jurisdictions to 25 miles. (17.39%)
- Permanently allow each state to manage its recreational sector allocation out to 200 nautical miles. (26.09%)
- Use of more appropriate management models, such as rate of harvest, rather than the commercial hard-poundage quota system currently in place. (21.74%)
- Inclusion of additional, non-federal data in stock assessments. (4.35%)