Recreational Boating & Fishing Leaders Request Changes from Congress

ALEXANDRIA, VA — More than 200 leaders in the recreational fishing and boating industries are asking Senate and House members to support key policy changes to saltwater recreational fisheries management in the upcoming Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) reauthorization. The MSA is the primary law governing federal saltwater fisheries management. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) spearheaded this effort which includes boat builders, engine manufacturers, and fishing tackle manufacturers and retailers. The clear message for Congress is: recreational fishing and boating must be an integral part of the MSA reauthorization. Click here to read a copy of the letter that was sent to Congress.

Despite the social, economic and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation, the MSA and the resulting federal fisheries management process has never paid due attention to how best to meet the needs of saltwater recreational anglers. The letter specifically encourages Congress to integrate the priorities described in the landmark report, A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries, into the MSA. Produced by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, better known as the Morris-Deal Commission, the report was introduced this past February to media and anglers. The report is supported by the nation’s leading recreational fishing and boating organizations and outlines the key recommendations that would benefit our industries.

Co-chaired by Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, the commission, composed of respected biologists, economists, conservationists, fisheries managers and policy makers, developed specific management recommendations for keeping saltwater recreational fishing sustainable and healthy. The commission advanced an innovative and results-oriented approach to marine fisheries management.

Today, in a continued effort to educate Congress about the need for recreational fishing and boating’s inclusion in the MSA, NMMA and ASA are leading a Congressional Boating Caucus briefing specifically dedicated to this issue. Representatives from both organizations, along with the Coastal Conservation Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, will gather on Capitol Hill to address Members of Congress directly and to educate all attendees about the importance of supporting recreational fishing and boating through legislation.

The economic imprint of recreational boating and saltwater angling in the U.S. is considerable. Anglers contribute more than $1.5 billion annually to fisheries habitat and conservation via excise taxes and license fees alone. In 2011, approximately 11 million Americans saltwater fished recreationally, spending $27 billion in pursuit of their sport. That activity generated more than $70 billion in economic output and sustained 450,000 jobs. Recreational boating in the U.S. is a $36.7 billion industry and creates 338,526 marine industry jobs including manufacturing, dealers, wholesalers and services at 34,833 marine industry businesses. Recreational boating is a uniquely American industry since 95 percent of the powerboats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S.

Contributors to the work of the commission include the American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Berkley Conservation Institute, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and The Billfish Foundation, as well as Bass Pro Shops and Maverick Boats