In response to today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announcement to proceed with prohibitions on lead fishing tackle throughout several national wildlife refuges in which hunting and fishing opportunities are being expanded, ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard released the following statement:
“While we appreciate USFWS’s focus on expanding fishing access for the nation’s 52 million anglers, it is deeply disappointing to see the continuation of baseless and harmful restrictions on the types of tackle they can use. As we have stated in our industry position statement, restrictions on lead fishing tackle must be based on sound science documenting that lead tackle has an impact on specific wildlife populations and developed in conjunction with state fish and wildlife agencies. We have repeatedly sought that evidence from USFWS but have yet to receive it.
It is also concerning that USFWS is coordinating with states and the hunting community on this issue but has not initiated any such consultation with the $148 billion sportfishing industry. Although we hope USFWS will work with us on a path forward that allows continued access for sportsmen with science as the driving factor for management decisions, this latest action reinforces the need for the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act (H.R. 615, S. 1185) to ensure best management practices are followed.”
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.