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Fisheries bill clears Senate committee

Important legislation that supports recreational boating and fishing industry conservation principles moved forward Wednesday in the Senate.

Important legislation that supports recreational boating and fishing industry conservation principles moved forward Wednesday in the Senate.

The Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation Act (S. 1514), or HELP, for Wildlife Act, which included an amendment by Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., on Great Lakes fishery research, was passed by the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works.

“NMMA strongly backs the EPW Senate Committee’s decision, as nearly 70 percent of boat outings involve an element of fishing, making efforts to protect boater access and fishery resources for the benefit of fresh and saltwater anglers a top priority,” NMMA federal and legal affairs VP Nicole Vasilaros said in a statement.

Specific provisions related to the recreational boating and fishing industry in the HELP for Wildlife Act include the following: protection for traditional fishing tackle from unwarranted regulation by the EPA; authorizing the national fish habitat partnerships program which will conserve, restore and enhance fish habitat throughout the nation; provisions beneficial to the health of Chesapeake Bay and; reauthorization of important conservation programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The HELP for Wildlife Act is modeled after the Great Lakes Fishery Research and Authorization Act (S. 859) that was introduced early this year by Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Duckworth’s amendment under the HELP for Wildlife bill authorizes funding for the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center to conduct monitoring scientific assessments of fishers within the Great Lakes basin.

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