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.

Members of Congress Call to Suspend Action on North Atlantic Right Whale Speed Rule

Last week, four Congressional Democrats sent a letter to Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Janet Coit urging her to set aside the flawed proposed changes to the North Atlantic right whale vessel speed rule, and instead carry out the full and vigorous exploration of technological solutions that can achieve conservation goals while still allowing reasonable access to public resources.

Representatives Mary Peltola (D-AK), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), and Brendan Boyle (D-PA) were the authors of the letter. ASA is grateful for their leadership and applauds this action.

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Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Preserve Critical Gulf of Mexico Habitat

On December 15, U.S. Representatives Garret Graves (R-LA) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) introduced legislation to preserve marine ecosystems and protect fishing access for anglers in the Gulf of Mexico by improving longstanding artificial reefing programs.

“As anyone who has fished offshore in the Gulf of Mexico knows, oil and gas platforms are thriving marine ecosystems,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “These are fishing meccas that are tremendously important to the sportfishing industry and coastal communities. We applaud Reps. Graves and Veasey for introducing Marine Fisheries Habitat Protection Act, which will help facilitate more of these artificials reefs remaining in the water to support the marine ecosystem.”

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ASA’s Glenn Hughes and Mike Waine Speak Out on Striped Bass

During the Folsom Tackle Show in Atlantic City, NJ, which brought local tackle shops together with national manufacturers to help restock for the New Year, The Fisherman’s Mike Caruso and Jim Hutchinson got together with ASA President Glenn Hughes and Atlantic Fisheries Policy Director Mike Waine to fish and talk about striped bass.


Gulf States Can Manage Red Snapper Better

If you follow fisheries issues, you know the management of Gulf red snapper has been a constant source of drama and confusion. A few years ago, there seemed to be some light in the tunnel. The Gulf states won the ability to collect catch data and superior harvest collection systems were developed. Under state management, seasons were longer and the fishery appeared to be thriving.

Unfortunately, Gulf states were told they would have to calibrate their data to fit with the federal data system – the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). This year, once state data was calibrated into MRIP, some quotas were cut again. Then, just a few weeks ago, NOAA announced that MRIP has been found to be overestimating recreational catch by at least 30 to 40 percent.

Obviously, this mismanagement has caused significant frustration in the Gulf states. This week, writers in Mississippi and Alabama spoke out on this issue. Scroll down to the News Reel section of this week’s Policy Watch to read what they had to say.

About

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.