Sportfishing Industry Praises Committee Passage of HELP for Wildlife Act
New legislation benefiting fisheries conservation and management advances in the U.S. Senate
Alexandria, Va. – July 26, 2017 – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) today expressed support for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works’ (EPW) passage of S. 1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation Act, or HELP for Wildlife Act. The bipartisan bill, which includes a range of provisions designed to improve the management of fish, wildlife, habitat, and outdoor recreation, passed by a 14-7 margin.
“The HELP for Wildlife Act – which really should be titled the ‘HELP for Wildlife and Fisheries Act’ – contains a number of provisions important to the recreational fishing industry,” said Scott Gudes, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “This bill will improve fishing access and conserve fishery resources for the benefit of fresh- and saltwater anglers, and we commend the Senate EPW committee for moving it forward.”
Specific provisions supported by ASA include:
• Protections 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, providing better fishing opportunities.
• Provisions beneficial to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
• Reauthorization of important conservation programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“We were also pleased to see Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) amendment to authorize the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center successfully added to the bill,” continued Gudes. “Modeled after the Great Lakes Fishery Research and Authorization Act (S. 859), which was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), this amendment adds another important fisheries component to the HELP for Wildlife Act that will benefit science and management for the Great Lakes’ $7 billion per year fisheries.”
Now passed out of committee, the HELP for Wildlife Act next moves to the floor of the U.S. Senate to be voted on by the full Senate at a later date.