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ASA testifies before U.S. House of Representatives

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Frank-Paul King, President and CEO of Temple Fork Outfitters and an ASA Government Affairs Committee member, gave evidence on Capitol Hill last week.

A representative of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Businesses about the economic impact of outdoor recreation.

Frank-Paul King, President and CEO of Temple Fork Outfitters and ASA Government Affairs Committee member, pleaded the recreational fishing industry’s case for clean water.

He said: “Without clean waters and abundant fish populations, the recreational fishing industry cannot survive. No-one wants to fish in dirty, polluted waters where fish populations have been depleted. Critical to small businesses in this segment is that anglers can enjoy healthy aquatic systems with abundant fisheries.” 

Mike Leonard, ASA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, said: “We are grateful to the Small Businesses Committee for focusing on the economic impact of outdoor recreation, including fishing. Despite contributing 2.2% of gross domestic product, recreational fishing is often thought of in terms of ‘fun’, not ‘business’.

“King’s testimony helped to reinforce the need for conservation policies and adequate infrastructure which will help spur economic growth in the sport fishing industry and outdoor recreation as a whole.”

The House Committee hearing on small businesses focused on how the growing outdoor recreational industry contributes to economic growth, jobs and conservation. It was told that to maintain growth for the industry, it is critical to have adequate infrastructure for anglers to have access to healthy fisheries.

Nearly $50 billion is spent each year by anglers, which supports more than 800,000 jobs with an overall economic impact of nearly $125 billion. The committee was told that the outdoor industry’s infrastructure has been neglected for decades, but with proper Congressional action to pass infrastructure funding, it will help create more access for fishing and spur economic growth.

Temple Fork Outfitters, based in Texas, has operated for 25 years, manufacturing fishing rods and other sport fishing equipment. As an active ASA member, King works to elevate the importance of the industry as major contributors to economic growth and conservation. 

In addition, the purchase of sport fishing equipment contributes to a federal conservation fund known as the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (SFRBTF) by an excise tax placed on these sales. The SFRBTF helps to contribute more than $650 million in federal funding to state wildlife agencies that spearhead conservation, maintenance and access efforts. 

Because of this commitment to conservation, anglers are helping to maintain a healthy environment at the same time to help create opportunities for the industry to grow.

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