July 1, 2024

House Natural Resources Holds Lively Hearing on Four CSF Priority Bills

Article Contact: Chris Horton,

Why It Matters: As the 118th Congress enters the fourth quarter, much of which will be occupied by campaigns and the election, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is pushing hard for our remaining priorities to be in a position for passage before everything wraps up. Four such bills were heard in a House Natural Resources Subcommittee last week, and although the debate was lively and a bit contentious at times, each of the four bills are one step closer to passage by the full Committee and consideration on the House Floor.


  • Four CSF supported fishing and boating access related bills were recently heard by the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Oceans, providing necessary progress for passage prior to the adjournment of the 118th
  • North Atlantic right whales, improving the accuracy and reliability of recreational data collection, enhanced mapping of our oceans, and coastal resiliency and fisheries habitat benefits were all on the docket.

Last Thursday, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries held a legislative hearing on four bills that address North Atlantic right whale conservation, improving data for both recreational fisheries and ocean access, and enhance coastal restoration efforts. CSF submitted written testimony for the record in support of all four bills before the Subcommittee.

  • R. 8705, the Fisheries Data Modernization and Accuracy Act of 2024, will facilitate the establishment or improvement of more efficient and accurate state-based data collection systems that can effectively supplement or replace the federal Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). The imprecision and untimeliness of MRIP data is the underlying cause for many unnecessarily short recreational fishing seasons.
  • R. 8704 requires the Secretary of Commerce to establish a grant program to foster enhanced coexistence between ocean users and North Atlantic right whales and other large whale species. The currently proposed and overly precautionary North Atlantic right whale vessel speed reduction rule before the Office of Management and Budget will do little for whale conservation. The bill will delay implementation of any new vessel speed rule until 2031, allowing the grant program to develop and evaluate alternative vessel strike mitigation alternatives using technology that will promote large whale conservation while still allowing reasonable access to the ocean for boaters and anglers.
  • R. 7925, the Modernizing Access to Our Public Oceans Act or “MAPOceans” Act, will eliminate confusion for boating access and fishing restrictions on our nation’s marine and coastal waterways through standardizing, consolidating, and publishing digital data concerning boating and fishing regulations on marine waters under federal management. There are many federal regulations governing various aspects of access to our nation’s waters and having that information in a convenient smartphone application or marine electronic format will allow anglers and boaters to more confidently and safely access our marine waters.
  • R. 6841, the Resilient Coast and Estuaries Act, would reauthorize and make improvements to two important programs established under the Coastal Zone Management Act: the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). Both programs are state and locally driven to conserve and restore ecologically important coastal lands and estuaries, providing numerous benefits to both fisheries and coastal communities.

A recording of the hearing can be found here. CSF looks forward to working with each of the bill sponsors as they move through the process to become law.

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