ASA enjoys ‘most productive ever’ Congress meeting
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A meeting between representatives of North America’s fishing tackle trade association and members of Congress has been hailed as the most productive ever.
The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) annual spring Government Affairs Committee meeting in the US Capitol Hill Building, in Washington DC, is a chance to meet representatives at the highest level of government in the US.
Bill Shedd, President of the AFTCO Manufacturing Company and the ASA Government Affairs Committee Chairman, said: “This was the most productive meeting to date. The organisation, content, access to legislators and ideas from the meeting were awesome.
“Given the increasing amount of federal issues affecting recreational fishing, from public access to tax issues to marine fisheries management, it is extremely important for the industry to meet with lawmakers to raise awareness of the social, economic and conservation benefits of the sport.”
Over the course of the day, committee members met with more than two dozen members of Congress or their staff, including leaders of key Congressional bodies that oversee fisheries and natural resource management.
The top federal legislative issues the committee discussed with Congressional offices included the passage of the Sportsman’s Act and the reauthorisations of both the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act and the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.
Other key regional issues discussed with relevant offices included the proposed marine reserve in Biscayne National Park, Florida, impacts of the drought on California salmon and federal ‘mismanagement’ of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper.
“This was a great opportunity for our members and legislators to meet face-to-face and talk about issues of critical importance to the sportfishing industry,” said ASA Government Affairs Vice President, Scott Gudes.
“Our elected officials need to hear first-hand from industry leaders across the country about the importance of salt and freshwater recreational fishing to the economy, jobs and conservation to ensure that our sport is enjoyed by future generations.”
During its meeting the Government Affairs Committee passed a motion develop a comprehensive education campaign on the important role anglers and boaters play in fisheries conservation funding.
Working with partners in the recreational fishing community, the campaign will target fisheries managers, legislators and the general public to raise awareness of more than $1 billion that anglers and boaters contribute annually to fisheries conservation and public access projects through fishing licence fees and excise taxes.