Fishing & Boating News

Recreational Fishing Industry Brings Policy Priorities to Capitol Hill

Industry leaders gather in Washington D.C. to discuss top legislative issues

by: Mary Jane Williamson, Dir Communications,

Rep. Bill Keating (D-Ma.) and Chris Megan, Publisher, On The Water

Photo by courtesy ASA
(L to R) Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Kris Carroll, President, Grady White Boats; Bob Eakes, President, Red Drum Tackle Shop; Gary Zurn, Senior Vice President - Industry Relations, Big Rock Sports

Photo by courtesy ASA
(May 14, 2016 - ) During the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) annual spring Government Affairs Committee meeting, recreational fishing industry leaders met with Members of Congress, federal agencies and the Obama Administration to advocate for one of the nation’s most popular outdoor sports. The meeting, held in conjunction with the American Boating Congress, was held May 10-11, in Washington, D.C.
Over the two days, committee members met with more than two dozen members of Congress or their staff, including key Congressional committee leaders who oversee fisheries and natural resource management. In addition, committee members met with representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.
“Recreational fishing has tremendous value in connecting people to the outdoors and providing jobs throughout the nation,” said ASA Government Affairs Vice President Scott Gudes. “Given the increasing number of policy issues affecting the sport, it’s critical that our policymakers understand the important role that recreational fishing plays in conservation and the economy. No one can relate that message better than ASA’s members.”
The top federal legislative issues the committee discussed with Congressional offices included the Sportsmen’s Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act and the Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act. Other key regional issues discussed with relevant offices included potential marine monument designations, restoring public access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, impacts of the drought on California salmon and federal management of Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper.
The ASA Government Affairs Committee is comprised of 30 individuals, representing a wide array of industry members from across the country. The committee meets twice a year to discuss key legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry and to guide ASA’s positions and activities regarding these issues.

“After two years in a row of holding the ASA Government Affairs Committee meeting in Washington, D.C., it’s clear that the recreational fishing industry’s presence on Capitol Hill is expanding,” said Gary Zurn, senior vice president of Industry Relations for Big Rock Sports and ASA Government Affairs Saltwater Subcommittee Chairman. “From developing a strong political action committee (SportfishingPAC), to continuing to grow KeepAmericaFishing, ASA is really stepping up its level of engagement in the political process.”
“However, our industry faces a lot of legislative and regulatory challenges, from onerous restrictions on fishing equipment to flawed fisheries management decisions. In order to be truly successful in tackling these challenges, it’s going to take full participation from industry members,” Zurn concluded.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice, speaking out on behalf of sportfishing and boating industries, state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups and outdoor journalists 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 social, economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through KeepAmericaFishing™, our angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 800,000 people.