The outdoor industry urges Congress to advance bipartisan legislation to benefit support fishing, shooting, hunting, conservation and increasing access to public lands and waters.
Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate that includes numerous legislative measures beneficial to anglers and hunters across the nation. In large part they pick up the measures contained in the Sportsmen’s Act that failed to pass at the end of the 112th Congress. Sens. Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the first bill, S 1335, on July 18, 2013. Sen. Hagan (D-N.C.) introduced the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act or SPORT Act on November 6, 2013. Collectively the two bills contain 18 measures that will benefit our nation’s sportsmen and women by providing increased access to our public lands and waters, habitat conservation, improving fish and wildlife management and protecting the use of traditional fishing tackle. It is anticipated that additional sought-after provisions will be added to the SPORT bill. If passed it would be the most significant angler and hunter legislation in decades.
“We thank Sens. Murkowski and Hagan for taking the initiative to introduce their bills,” says Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “These two bills contain provisions that the sportsmen’s community has sought for several years and their passage would be momentous for the resources and to sportsmen and women. Fortunately, when you look at the bills together, each package contains an almost equal number of Democratic and Republican sponsors. This is extraordinary in today's hyper-partisan climate and is a testament to how non-partisan, sportsmen-oriented conservation measures can be achieved.”
“We encourage Sens. Murkowski and Hagan to reach across the aisle and join forces to pass these measures. It is our hope, and expectation, that this important legislation will not be dragged down in partisan Senate bickering as was last year’s bill,” says Robertson.
“Bipartisan action would greatly enhance the opportunity for passage,” notes Robertson. “Cooperation would also demonstrate to sportsmen and women that fish and wildlife and fishing and hunting issues are bipartisan issues. Bipartisan bills would reenergize support from last year’s large and diverse coalition of national conservation, fishing, hunting and public land advocacy groups.”
Organizations supporting the legislation include the American Sportfishing Association, the Boone and Crockett Club, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, the Mule Deer Foundation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever and the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
“Recreational fishing supports 828,000 jobs and contributes $115 billion to the economy annually, both are critical economic areas these monumental bill packages will enhance,” said Robertson. “We encourage anglers and hunters to reach out to their Senators and ask them to become co-sponsors as well as urge the sponsors of these two important bills to join forces.”
Robertson states “Anglers and hunters can take action by going to www.KeepAmericaFishing.org and send a message to their Senators urging them to do the right thing on behalf of our nation’s natural resources and the men and women who enjoy fishing and hunting. There is also a description of the bills’ components.”