Industry letter urges Magnuson-Stevens reform

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More than 200 leaders in the recreational fishing and boating industries are asking U.S. House and Senate members in a letter today to support key policy changes to saltwater recreational fisheries management in the upcoming Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act reauthorization.

Also today, in a continued effort to educate Congress about the need for recreational fishing and boating’s inclusion in the act, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the American Sportfishing Association are leading a Congressional Boating Caucus briefing dedicated to the issue.

Representatives from both organizations, along with the Coastal Conservation Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, will gather on Capitol Hill to address members of Congress directly and to educate all attendees about the importance of supporting recreational fishing and boating through legislation.

The clear message in the letter to Congress is that recreational fishing and boating must be an integral part of the act’s reauthorization. The act is the primary law governing federal saltwater fisheries management.

The letter specifically encourages Congress to integrate the priorities described in the landmark report A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries into the act.

Produced by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, better known as the Morris-Deal Commission, the report was introduced in February to anglers and the press during the Progressive Miami International Boat Show.

Anglers contribute more than $1.5 billion annually to fisheries habitat and conservation via excise taxes and license fees alone. In 2011, about 11 million Americans saltwater-fished recreationally, spending $27 billion in pursuit of their sport. That activity generated more than $70 billion in economic output and sustained 450,000 jobs.

Recreational boating in the United States is a $36.7 billion industry and creates 338,526 marine industry jobs, including manufacturing, dealers, wholesalers and services at 34,833 marine industry businesses. Recreational boating is a uniquely American industry, as 95 percent of powerboats sold in this country are made here.

For questions about the letter, Hill briefing or the report, contact Lauren Dunn of the National Marine Manufacturers Association at ldunn@nmma.org, (202) 737-9752 or Mary Jane Williamson of the American Sportfishing Association at mjwilliamson@asafishing.org, (703) 519-9691, Ext. 227.

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