Weekly Policy Watch Updates From The ASA

Your weekly look at how ASA’s government affairs team is hard at work supporting sound fisheries policies throughout the country.

ASA’s Mike Leonard Speaks Out on Speed Restrictions

Last week, ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard gave a presentation to dozens of state legislators from across the country at the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Summit, on the negative impacts of NOAA’s North Atlantic right whale vessel speed rule.

NOAA’s proposed changes will not meaningfully improve protections for the North Atlantic right whale, put boater safety at risk, raise privacy concerns, severely limit boater access to the Atlantic Ocean, and will significantly harm coastal economies and livelihoods. ASA thanks the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation for the opportunity to participate in the NASC Summit.

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Conservation Remains Priority in Governor Ron DeSantis’ Focus On Florida’s Future Budget

On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the proposed Fiscal 2024-2025 Focus on Florida’s Future Budget, which includes support for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) mission to protect Florida’s natural resources. The budget will help provide Floridians with more opportunities to get outdoors and high-priority conservation items including coral reef restoration, derelict vessel removal and habitat restoration initiatives.

Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis announced the Great Outdoors Initiative and signed an Executive Order to reduce the price of state park passes and FWC sportsman hunting and fishing licenses by 50%. This initiative has had record success and discounts will last through Jan. 13, 2024.

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Blue Catfish Stomachs Reveal Ecological Toll of Their Appetite

In terms of appetite and willingness to gorge on just about anything, blue catfish have few peers in the Chesapeake Bay, experts say.

“They’re eating everything, anything they can get their mouths around,” said Noah Bressman, a fish biologist at Salisbury University in Maryland.

Now, a clearer picture is emerging of their ecological toll. Two new studies based in tidal rivers on opposite sides of the Bay show that the invasive species is gobbling up prized native aquatic life, such as menhaden and blue crabs, at high rates.

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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.