The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) touted the passage of critical legislation that includes priorities for the sportfishing industry, including funding for fish habitat restoration, pollution reduction in the Chesapeake Bay, invasive species management, and the protection of traditional tackle.

Members of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the bipartisan America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Reauthorization Act (S. 3791).

“The ACE Reauthorization Act will bolster America’s $148 billion sportfishing economy through funding for programs such as the National Fish Habitat Partnership, Chesapeake Bay Program and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act,” said Mike Leonard, VP of government affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “We applaud Senators Carper, Capito and the 14 additional bipartisan co-sponsors for their leadership on this issue and their commitment to enhancing angling opportunities for America’s 54.5 million anglers.”

The ACE Reauthorization Act reportedly reauthorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) and increases funding for the program to $10 million annually. NFHP is a voluntary, non-regulatory and locally driven program that has funded over 1,300 on-the-ground aquatic habitat improvement projects since 2016. The legislation also reportedly protects using traditional fishing tackle by prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating lead-based fishing products through 2030.

The trade association also reported that reauthorizing the Chesapeake Bay Program would approve $100 million per year for the Bay watershed, including America’s largest estuary, through 2030. 

The funding will also allow six states and the District of Columbia to improve water quality, fish habitat and flood resilience from the mountainous headwaters to the Atlantic Ocean.

“The ACE Act was initially authorized in 2020, and many of its provisions will expire in 2025,” ASA wrote in a release. “We look forward to working with members of the House of Representatives to see this legislation cross the finish line.”

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association “committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries and the entire sportfishing community.”