October 23, 2019
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies strongly supports the introduction of the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2019. This bipartisan bill will extend the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund through 2024. Congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC), along with Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA), Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA), Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced this bill in the House of Representatives today in Washington, D.C.
“I commend the bipartisan work of Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Graves on the introduction of the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2019 and for continuing the successful legacy of the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act since 1950,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The enactment of this bill is critically important for continuing the cornerstone funding mechanism that is essential to state fish and wildlife agencies for the conservation of sport fish species and their habitats, to provide public access for fishing and boating, and to provide boating safety and education. Further, it funds invaluable natural resources infrastructure through the coastal wetlands program and resources for outreach and education to anglers, boaters, and the public. We look forward to working with the bill sponsors to enact this legislation as part of the Transportation reauthorization effort.”
Ron Regan, the Association’s Executive Director said, “We thank the bill sponsors for supporting and advancing the angling and boating community’s policy priorities for reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund, as demonstrated through the collaborative work of the Angling and Boating Alliance (ABA). Supporting the ABA’s reauthorization priorities and the “user pays-public benefits” system of conservation funding through this legislation will provide opportunities to address new horizons and challenges.”
If passed, this reauthorization would increase available amounts for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) administration, eliminates the full-time employee and part-time hour minimums for WSFR administrative allocations, requires a study to inform future boat recycling efforts, and requires a Government Accountability Office report examining non-motorized vessel uses and impacts, waterway access conflicts, and the use of Sport Fish Restoration Program funds for creating non-motorized waterway access points.
The bill has the endorsement from:
- American Sportfishing Association (ASA)
- Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA)
- Association of Marina Industries (AMI)
- B.A.S.S. LLC
- Boat Owners Association of the United States (Boat U.S.)
- Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF)
- Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA)
- National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)
- National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)
- States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA)
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.