MIAMI: Yamaha president encourages industry advocacy in Washington

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Yamaha Marine president Ben Speciale addressed media at a dinner during the Miami International Boat Show Thursday night.

Yamaha Marine president Ben Speciale addressed media at a dinner during the Miami International Boat Show Thursday night.

MIAMI — The marine industry has become more active in advocating on Capitol Hill, but it has to step up its efforts, says Yamaha Marine president Ben Speciale.

“The worst thing that can happen to us in this industry is unintended regulations,” Speciale said during a media dinner in Miami Thursday night. “We’ve been working hard on passing the Modern Fish Act.”

The Modern Fish Act is slated to head to the Senate for a markup later this month after clearing the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources in December.

The bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate in July after a companion bill was brought forth in the House last April.

“We’ve never been this close,” Speciale told Trade Only Today. “We need to make sure our voice is heard now more than ever.”

National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich asked the industry to text “fish” to 50457 to contact legislators in support of the bill.

Yamaha is doing very well as a company, Speciale said. “We feel good about the future of our industry now, but I don’t think we’re selling enough new boats this year. I think if we can see a longer snapper season we would sell more.”

Yamaha has been working to change some of the scientific methodology used regarding gathering data on fish stocks.

For example, new technology can help reduce the mortality rate for fish that are caught and released, Speciale said.

Yamaha has invested $150,000 in helping develop that technology, Hughes said.

“There are better ways of counting the fish and we shouldn’t be counted as commercial fishermen,” Hughes said at the dinner. “We are as valuable as commercial fishermen — we create more jobs and catch 2 percent of fish.”

The company teased a new product debut on May 22 at its test facility in Bridgeport, Ala.

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