Sportsmen’s Act Approved By the U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative priorities for the recreational fishing industry are one step closer to enactment
Alexandria, VA – February 26, 2016 –A package of legislative provisions that will benefit recreational fishing and hunting, and have a positive impact on natural resource conservation, today passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 242-161. Passage of H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, represents another major milestone for the recreational fishing community.
Introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Vice Chairs Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Gene Green (D-Texas), the SHARE Act, also known as the Sportsmen’s Act, contains numerous provisions to improve public access to federal lands and guard against new regulations that threaten to limit access to fishing and hunting.
“Given all that is going on in the world of politics, for our nation’s sporting traditions to receive full consideration by the House of Representatives demonstrates that our Congressional leaders recognize the importance of recreational fishing and hunting to the nation,” said Scott Gudes, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “The Sportsmen’s Act is one of the recreational fishing industry’s top priorities, and we are thrilled to see it one step closer to being signed into law.”
Gudes noted, “In addition to the bill’s sponsors, House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) is to be commended for his leadership in seeing the SHARE Act through to its final passage by the House.”
Specific provisions in the SHARE Act that impact the recreational fishing community include:
- Protecting traditional fishing equipment containing lead from unwarranted federal bans.
- Requiring federal land managers to support and facilitate access for fishing, hunting and recreational shooting on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.
- Preventing unnecessary closures to fishing and hunting on public lands by implementing an “open until closed” management policy.
- Ensuring that state and territorial fisheries agencies have a rightful say in fisheries management decisions in their own waters.
“We are particularly pleased that Congress defeated a detrimental amendment by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to strike important language that safeguards against unwarranted fishing closures, such as what is happening at Biscayne National Park,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Ocean Resource Policy director. “Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) delivered powerful remarks on the House floor in opposition to the Beyer amendment, and we thank her for her continued leadership on behalf of Florida’s recreational fishing community.”
With the Sportsmen’s Act having now passed the House of Representatives, the recreational fishing community turns its full attention to the Senate, where companion bills have cleared all committees of jurisdiction and now await action on the Senate floor.