WASHINGTON — The Center for Sportfishing Policy, along with the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s American Boating Congress, met this week with federal policymakers in efforts to improve fisheries management and protect public access to federally managed waters.
Several conservation and fishing industry organizations have been fighting hard in recent years to repair the Magnuson-Stevens Act, intended to protect important fish species from overfishing. Now, they’re hoping to achieve that with passage of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (the Modern Fish Act), introduced last month by U.S. Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).
In addition, the Center for Sportfishing Policy is pushing to solve the Gulf red snapper “catastrophe” in which federal fisheries agencies have steadily reduced recreational fishing seasons for red snapper. This year, the season for federal waters lasts only three days.
Meeting with Center and NMMA leaders were top administration and Capitol Hill officials, including representatives from the Department of Commerce and the House Natural Resources Committee, among others.
“Members of the Center for Sportfishing Policy and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are among the most effective advocates in the recreational fishing and boating industry,” said Jeff Angers, President of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Recreational boating and fishing are key drivers in the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and we look forward to working with the administration and policymakers to ensure continued growth and better public access to our nation’s natural marine resources.”
A related campaign is reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is forcing the proliferation of fuel containing 15 percent ethanol — which is harmful to outboard engines — and the elimination of non-ethanol gasoline. That’s also a key goal of the advocacy group Bass Anglers for Saltwater Conservation (BASC). B.A.S.S. is a member of both BASC and the Center. To become involved, go to www.bassforsalt.com and www.sportfishingpolicy.com.
Also during the Center’s annual “Fly-In” Washington meeting, members honored
Dave Pfeiffer with its Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award. Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Shimano, served as Chairman of the Board for the American Sportfishing Association, and was a founding board member of both the Coastal Conservation Association of California and the Jose Wejebe Spanish Fly Memorial Foundation.
“Dave Pfeiffer is committed to sharing his passion for fishing with others and ensuring recreational fishing exists for future generations,” said Angers. “Dave serves as an example of a true leader in conservation, and we honor him for playing an important role in the battle for access to America’s public fishery resources.”