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ASA increases influence at heart of US Government

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Republican Bill Keating (D-Ma.) and Chris Megan (right), Publisher of On The Water, at the ASA’s two-day meeting on Capitol Hill.
↑ From left: Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Kris Carroll, (President of Grady White Boats) Bob Eakes, (President, Red Drum Tackle Shop) and Gary Zurn, (Senior Vice President - Industry Relations, Big Rock Sports) are pictured during the two-day meeting in Washington DC.

The American Sportfishing Association is expanding its influence on Capitol Hill.

That is the feeling following its latest annual spring Government Affairs Committee meeting in Washington DC, where recreational fishing industry leaders met with Members of Congress, federal agencies and the Obama administration.

“After two years in a row of holding this meeting, it is clear that the recreational fishing industry’s presence on Capitol Hill is expanding,” said Gary Zurn, Senior Vice President of the 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, the 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.”

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, they discussed issues with representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Park Service, US 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 is critical that our policy makers understand the important role that recreational fishing plays in conservation and the economy. No one can relate that message better than ASA members.”

The ASA Government Affairs Committee is made up of 30 individuals, representing a wide array of industry members from across the US. It meets twice a year to discuss key legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry and to guide the ASA’s position and activities regarding these issues.

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