ASA applauds positive movement on Sportsman’s Act
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The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has welcomed a major advancement in legislation which will give the nation’s anglers increased access to public land and waterways.
The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has moved forward the Bipartisan Sportsman’s Act of 2015. The ASA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Scott Gudes, said: “For those of us in the recreational fishing community who have been increasingly worried that yet another session of Congress will pass without paying meaningful attention to addressing sportsmen’s issues, the Senate action is a welcome sign of encouragement.
“We applaud the leadership of Chair, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member, Senator Maria Cantwell, for advancing the act which addresses many immediate and long-term needs of fishermen and hunters.”
Gudes said that items of particularly interest – approved by the Committee – included:
- Provision of a clear congressional declaration of policy for all federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and improvement of recreation fishing, hunting and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands in accordance with their missions.
- Establishment of a national ‘open unless closed’ standard for federal lands with regards to fishing and hunting access.
- Requirement that the agency concerned justifies proposed public access closures and limits temporary closures to no more than 180 days.
Gudes added: “We also recognise efforts by three senators to offer amendments that recognise the significant threat that Asian Carp poses to the Great Lakes fisheries. Similarly we thank Sen Bill Cassidy for offering language to ensure that state fisheries agencies are included in decisions by the National Park Service and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to close marine waters to recreational fishing.
“It is our hope and expectation that these two vitally important issues will ultimately be addressed in the final version of the Sportsman’s Act that is signed into law.
“We now look to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to act swiftly to take up its portion of the Sportsman’s Act. With the Congressional calendar quickly filling up and the 2016 Presidential election fast approaching, immediate action is needed to ensure that this broadly supported bipartisan legislation is enacted to the benefit of sportsmen and women and the nation as a whole.”