June 30, 2016

Senate Committee Passes Legislation Supporting Anglers and Boaters

On June 29, recreational fishing and boating organizations supported the Senate Commerce Committee’s passage of S. 3099, The Access for Sportfishing Act of 2016.  Recently introduced by Senators Bill Nelson (FL) and Marco Rubio (FL), the legislation contains several important marine fisheries-related provisions, including: Fishery management measures in Biscayne National Park and a necessary change to the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012.

Similar efforts to safeguard the states’ authority to regulate fishing in state waters off their coastline have recently been addressed in legislation from Senators Bill Cassidy (LA) and Marco Rubio (FL) as well as legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act.

“This is a common sense approach to understanding the critical role that anglers play in fisheries conservation. Undue closures without scientific basis is nothing more than a heavy-handed access-restriction measure. We look forward to working with Members of Congress in the Gulf States to ensure enhanced access and opportunity for anglers,” noted Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane regarding the Biscayne National Park provision.

The similar bills in each chamber are the result of a recent decision by the National Park Service to implement a 10,500-acre marine reserve in Biscayne Bay, one of the nation’s most popular urban fishing areas just outside of Miami, Florida. The decision to close such a large area of popular public waters was made despite objections from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus that the reserve was overly restrictive and not biologically justified. 

“A thoughtful, inclusive process that conserves our resources while providing enhanced fishing and recreation opportunities is the best approach to managing our public marine resources,” said Patrick Murray, President of Coastal Conservation Association and CSF Board of Directors Member. “We are grateful to Senators Nelson and Rubio for championing this bill, and ensuring that the public continues to have a voice in the management of our marine resources.”

Click here for the recreational fishing community press release.

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?

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