On June 25, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) House leadership Congressmen Duncan (R-SC), Green (D-TX), Austin Scott (R-GA), and Marc Veasey (D-TX), signed a dear colleague letter in support of passage of H.R. 200, which was sent to other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Introduced by former CSC Co-Chair Congressman Don Young (AK), H.R. 200 seeks to provide amendments to the Magnuson-Steven’s Act that will, among other changes to the law, recognize and address the significance of recreational fisheries under the nation’s primary fisheries law. After several revisions to find bipartisan agreement, all four Members of the House leadership of the CSC have signed on as bill co-sponsors.
With the provisions of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act (H.R. 2023) rolled into H.R. 200 during committee markup, the bill offers alternative management approaches that implement catch limits based on metrics rooted in management being used by state fisheries managers on inland and coastal fisheries, management commissions and federal migratory bird managers. It also helps bring recreational data collection into the 21st century by promoting the consideration of modern reporting systems, including from smartphone apps, which some state agencies are beginning to implement as well as incorporating data from non-federal sources into stock assessments.
This bipartisan bill will increase access opportunities and provide parity for millions of recreational saltwater anglers who contribute more than $63 billion to the U.S. economy each year and generate nearly 440,000 jobs. Furthermore, in 2016 alone, anglers and boaters contributed $628 million in excise taxes for sportfish conservation management, boating safety and infrastructure, and habitat restoration, and an additional $693 million was generated through fishing license fees.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the House leadership of the CSC for their efforts to advance this important piece of legislation. H.R. 200 will receive a floor vote in the House of Representatives after the July 4 recess.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?