Fishing industry leader fears conservation budget cuts
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The US fishing industry has expressed its concern that cuts in conservation funding in 2016 federal budgets will have a ‘profoundly negative impact’.
Both the House and Senate’s budget plans seek dramatic cuts for non-defence discretionary spending, which includes conservation and would mean investment shortfalls for critical programmes.
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and its coalition of partners have urged Congress to provide funding for habitat resources that power a thriving outdoor economy.
But TRCP Government Relations Director, Steve Kline, was less than optimistic. “Planned reductions go beyond the already sequestered funding levels, so we are looking at deep cuts to what is already insufficient funding,” he said.
“Conservation dollars represent less than one per cent of the total federal budget and have no meaningful impact on the federal deficit, but defunding would have a profoundly negative long-term impact.”
TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh stressed the point that anglers and hunters pay excise taxes, licence fees and membership dues for many conservation organisations.
“But angling and hunting can only thrive as long as the federal government continues to invest in conserving habitat and improving access. These proposed budget plans fail in that respect,” he added.
It is estimated that the outdoor economy generates $646 billion a year in direct consumer spending in the US and provides more than six million jobs.