NMMA bolsters fishing advocacy in election season

The National Marine Manufacturers Association will participate in several events this month to reinforce its advocacy for recreational fishing.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association will participate in several events this month to reinforce its advocacy for recreational fishing.

Working alongside industry partners, with Congress in session a final time before the 2016 election, the NMMA said it will shine a light on key priorities for the fishing and boating industries and identify ways to continue to keep the industries at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds.

“It’s paramount that the recreational boating and angling industries continue to work closely together to ensure a future for our nation’s anglers,” National Marine Manufacturers Association vice president Nicole Vasilaros said in a statement.

“During a critical election year we’re taking the opportunity to meet with legislators in the final weeks Congress is in session before the elections to ensure fishing and boating remain top of mind and bring further attention to important fishing topics that matter to our entire industry.”

The NMMA said it is participating in the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ annual meeting today through Wednesday in Philadelphia and will meet with state fish and wildlife agencies to discuss freshwater and saltwater challenges.

Afterward the NMMA will join industry partners on Capitol Hill for two briefings.

The first is with the Congressional Boating Caucus on Sept. 15, and the NMMA said it will be structured as a panel discussion to address the House and Senate on the Water Resources Development Act and critical infrastructure and water-quality projects in the pending legislation. The act is set for renewal this year.

The panel also will look at waterways infrastructure needs and critical issues facing Everglades restoration. Co-hosts for the discussion are BoatUS; Marine Retailers Association of the Americas; American Sportfishing Association; Center for Coastal Conservation; Coastal Conservation Association of Florida; and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Panelists include Kelli Ralston, ASA/Keep Florida Fishing; James Erskine, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and Jim Sartucci, K&L Gates.

“The Congressional Boating Caucus briefing will be a very timely and important discussion, as the Senate just began floor deliberations on the WRDA legislation,” Vasilaros said.

On Sept. 21 the NMMA and ASA will participate in the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus breakfast briefing, where NMMA President Thom Dammrich will speak about the importance of recreational angling to the boating industry and its support of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s new “60 in 60” campaign, created with the goal of increasing the number of anglers from 46 million each year to 60 million in 60 months — by 2021.

The NMMA’s efforts on Capitol Hill this month come after President Obama’s proclamation to expand a national marine monument in Hawaii while permitting recreational fishing. The NMMA worked with the ASA and CCC to impress upon the Obama administration the need for continued recreational access in any marine monument designation.

“The president’s recent proclamation is an important example of how resource conservation and recreational activities, such as sportfishing and boating, can go hand in hand, and furthermore, how NMMA and industry partners can work together to make an impact on Capitol Hill,” Vasilaros said.