U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) recently introduced the Striped Bass American Heritage Act, which would designate the iconic species as the country’s national fish.
Just as the bald eagle is the avian symbol of the country for its strength, power and dominance, the striped bass is a uniquely American fish that has been intertwined with the people, history and heritage of the United States for centuries, the proposed legislation says.
"New Jersey has always appreciated the importance of the striped bass, as it is our distinguished state saltwater fish," MacArthur said in a statement. "I am honored to introduce this bill to finally recognize the striped bass as our national fish and enshrine its place in our nation's cultural heritage."
Noted underwater photographer Mike Laptew teamed with the Recreational Fishing Alliance to create a video in support of the Striped Bass American Heritage Act.
National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said the NMMA is proud to support the American Striped Bass Heritage Act. “Fishing and boating are inextricably linked, a fact that unifies boaters and anglers and focuses attention on our collective contributions to conservation,” he said.
The Yamaha Marine Group also announced its support of the bill.
"Yamaha Marine is proud to support the American Striped Bass Heritage Act,” government relations and communications manager Martin Peters said in a statement. “Striped bass have played a major role in the history of American fishing and boating. The ‘National Fish’ designation for the striped bass reinforces a commitment to the conservation of our national waterways and the species that dwell within them.”
"The importance of the striped bass in American history is well established and deserving of the highest recognition," RFA executive director Jim Donofrio said in a statement. "That's why we intend to work closely with Congressman MacArthur and other members of the House and Senate to ensure that this truly exceptional species becomes formally designated as America's national fish.
"To be clear, however, this proposed legislation in no way designates the striped bass as a game fish only," RFA New England director Capt. Barry Gibson told Trade Only Today. "We'll continue to expect managers to allocate the striper resource to both the recreational and commercial sectors appropriately. What the bill will do, we hope, is to elevate the status of striped bass when it comes protecting these tremendously valuable fish from pollution, protecting their spawning habitat and eliminating wasteful and illegal harvesting practices."