A look at some of the fishery-related issues being closely monitored by the American Sportfishing Association in January and beyond.
Infrastructure Money Goes to Essential Restoration Projects
The White House announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will receive more than $14 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for over 500 restoration projects across 50 states and territories. This includes more than $1 billion for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration program to address storing runoff water and reduce seepage loss during dry times. The USACE is using $226 million to fund a massive effort to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes.
Wildlife Recovery Act Advances to the House Floor
The House Natural Resources Committee advanced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) out of committee on a bipartisan 29-15 vote. Now RAWA, which would dedicate $1.4 billion annually to state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies to implement science-based recovery plans, is headed to the House floor. ASA is working with a coalition of organizations to advocate for RAWA’s enactment to reverse declines in fish and wildlife species and improve aquatic resource health.
House Considers Wildlife Bills
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife considered a range of wildlife bills. These included H.R. 5973 to reauthorize the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990; H.R. 4092 to support efforts to assess, protect, restore, and enhance important coastal areas that provide fish and wildlife habitat; and H.R. 3540 to reauthorize NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office. ASA will continue to track the proposed bills as they move through the legislative process.
Update on Proposed Amendments to Prop 65
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed amendments that would modify the content and methods for providing short-form warnings. ASA joined a coalition to submit comments on the proposed amendments. In the comment letter, the coalition explains how the proposed rulemaking burdens companies that have already invested significant time and capital to comply with the Prop 65 overhaul. A public hearing will be held Thursday, March 11, 2021.
Salmon FISH Act Introduced
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) reintroduced legislation designed to support salmon populations through funding restoration and protection of key salmon rivers and watersheds. Salmon have declined due to habitat degradation and pollution, among other factors. This legislation will benefit the salmon population, as well as the environment, economy and communities that salmon support.
Plan Continues to Rebuild the Striped Bass Fishery
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved striped bass Draft Amendment 7 for public comment. The proposed action considers changes to the fishery management plan and focuses on measures to address recreational release mortality, the use of conservation equivalency and management triggers to help rebuild the iconic striped bass fishery. ASMFC will conduct public hearings to provide stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on preferred management options. Ahead of the hearings, ASA will release a guide to help our members navigate the proposed management changes and encourage members to get involved in the comment process. Stay tuned for a Keep America Fishing Action Alert announcing the guide’s availability.
Wind Energy Update
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is drafting an environmental assessment on the potential impacts of offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico. Slated for completion this summer, BOEM is accepting comments on the draft through February 9, 2022. Additionally, 480,000 acres offshore New York and New Jersey will be auctioned off by BOEM on February 23, 2022. This historic offshore wind lease sale launches the Biden-Harris administration’s mission “to install 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030” and fight climate change.
Proposed National Marine Sanctuary Designations
ASA submitted comment letters on proposed designations for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary in California and Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Sanctuary in Hawaii. We commend the Chumash designation’s explicit inclusion of recreational fishing access and urge the consideration of allowing non-commercial (recreational) fishing throughout Papahanaumokuakea as the draft environmental impact statement is developed. You can view the letters here and here.
If there is an issue that you are concerned about or would like to discuss, please contact Mike Leonard by email or at (703) 519-9691 x 230.
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.