Alexandria, VA – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure that will provide opportunities for retired Navy ships to be considered for artificial reefs. This language was included as an amendment to H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, which passed the House and awaits action by the full U.S. Senate.
The amendment was based on the Reusing Equipment for Environmental Fortification (REEF) Act, introduced by Rep. María Salazar (R-Fla.) and a strong bipartisan group of her colleagues. By increasing opportunities for retired naval vessels to be considered for artificial reefs, the REEF Act will help create new marine ecosystems and recreational fishing opportunities.
“Decommissioned vessels have successfully been converted into artificial reefs off our nation’s coastlines, benefiting the marine environment and becoming valuable fishing destinations,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “On behalf of the recreational fishing industry, we commend Rep. Salazar in particular for her leadership in ensuring that additional opportunities are not lost to convert retired naval vessels into artificial reefs.”
ASA spearheaded a letter from over a dozen recreational fishing and boating organizations in support of the REEF Act, and actively worked to gain cosponsors.
“The REEF Act would help give retired naval vessels an honorable new purpose, strengthening the ocean ecosystems that coastal communities and anglers depend on,” said Leonard.
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.