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ASA News is the monthly e-newsletter from the American Sportfishing Association. Please scroll down for the complete document. Use the links in the right hand navigation under the specific topic area to access additional information.

For more information contact Communications Director Mary Jane Williamson, (703) 519-9691, x227.

Our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year from the Staff of the American Sportfishing Association

 

Fisheries Policy Updates

  • FWS Announces No Fish Hatchery Closures
  • EPA Proposes Rollback of Ethanol Targets
  • NFWF Announces First Wave of Gulf Restoration Funds
  • Improved Biscayne Bay Management Plan Released
  • Senate Committee Holds Hearing on SE Marine Fisheries
  • Multiple Sportsmen Acts Introduced into Congress

 

Sportfishing Industry Data

  • New NOAA Study Outlines Saltwater Fishing Expenditures
  • 2013 Fishing Participation Virtually Unchanged Compared to 2012

 

ICAST 2014

  • Mark Your Calendar for ICAST 2014 and 2015

FWS Announces No Fish Hatchery Closures

In November the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its “National Fish Hatchery System: Strategic Hatchery and Workforce Planning Report” which outlines the current problems in the program and identifies how they could be fixed. Along with releasing the report the FWS announced that there will be no fish hatchery closures in fiscal year 2014. The hatchery program has been significantly affected by sequestration and could lose almost $6 million as sequestration continues into 2014. Coincidentally, the FWS announced that it would be seeking input from the fishing community about how to proceed considering the challenges facing the national fish hatchery system.

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EPA Proposes Rollback of Ethanol Targets

In November the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed scaling back the 2014 renewable fuel targets from 18 billion gallons of renewable fuels blended into the nation’s gasoline and diesel to 15 billion gallons. Of this total amount, 13 billion gallons will be from ethanol products. This is the first time the EPA has proposed a rollback of targets, which would decrease the amount of ethanol on the market that could be blended into gasoline. This could be the first step in reevaluating the introduction of increased ethanol percentages in gasoline. The EPA will also be accepting stakeholder comments on the range of renewable fuel targets. ASA is currently opposed to the introduction of increased ethanol in gasoline until it is deemed safe for all engine types, including boat engines.

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NFWF Announces First Wave of Gulf Restoration Funds

In November the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) released the first phase of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund projects. The fund was created earlier this year as part of the settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and BP and Transocean to resolve criminal charges against both companies resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Projects awarded funding include oyster reef restoration, coastal habitat enhancement, improved data collection on Gulf reef fish stocks and a variety of other management and restoration measures. A list of projects for each state can be found on the NFWF website.

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Improved Biscayne Bay Management Plan Released

In November the National Park Service released a supplemental General Management Plan for Biscayne National Park that marks an important step towards balancing the need for public access while addressing resource concerns. The new preferred alternative eliminates a 10,000 acre marine reserve which was a significant point of contention for the boating and fishing communities. The new preferred plan instead establishes a 14,585 acre special recreation zone along a portion of the park’s reef tract in which fishing would be allowed year round with a special permit. Recreational fishing and boating is still permitted in nearly all of the remainder of the park under state and federal rules and regulations.

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Senate Committee Holds Hearing on SE Marine Fisheries

In November the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard held a hearing to gather perspectives regarding the nation’s federal fisheries management law. The hearing examined the progress and challenges faced in the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean in meeting the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) since the Act was last reauthorized in 2006. Much of the testimony centered on the challenges that the recreational fishing community experiences with the current MSA, which is apparent with the red snapper fishery closures.

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Multiple Sportsmen Acts Introduced into Congress

Through the end of November, three omnibus sportsmen’s bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. These three bills include numerous legislative measures beneficial to anglers and hunters across the nation. In large part they pick up the measures contained in the Sportsmen’s Act that failed to pass at the end of the 112th Congress. Sens. Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Thune (R-S.D.) introduced the first bill, S 1335, on July 18, 2013. Sen. Hagan (D-N.C.) introduced the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act or SPORT Act on November 6, 2013. On November 21, Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) introduced the Sportsmen’s heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act or SHARE Act, H.R. 3590. Collectively the three bills contain 19 measures that will benefit our nation’s sportsmen and women by providing increased access to our public lands and waters, habitat conservation, improving fish and wildlife management and protecting the use of traditional fishing tackle.

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New NOAA Study Outlines Saltwater Fishing Expenditures

Marine recreational fishing is a popular sport that generates significant economic impacts to both local economies and to the nation. In a 2011 study NOAA’s Marine Fisheries estimates that more than 70 million recreational fishing trips were taken by more than 11 million anglers. In the report, the level of fishing expenditures for these anglers was quantified within each coastal state and the U.S.A. as a whole. At the national level, it is estimated that saltwater anglers spent an estimated $4.4 billion on trip-based expenditures (e.g., ice, bait and fuel) and another $19 billion on fishing equipment and durable goods (e.g., fishing rods, fishing tackle and boats). For this study, a regional input-output assessment was conducted to examine how those expenditures circulated through each state's economy as well as the U.S. economy. As angler expenditures filtered through the U.S. economy, they contributed an estimated $56 billion in total output impacts, $29 billion in value-added impacts (i.e. contributions to gross domestic product), $18 billion in income impacts and supported 364,000 jobs. The full report can be found on NOAA’s website.

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2013 Fishing Participation Virtually Unchanged Compared to 2012

In a license index run cooperatively by ASA and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), license sales rebounded slightly in the third quarter of 2013, making 2013’s January thru September license sales basically unchanged compared to the same months in 2012. The third quarter growth is most likely due to delayed demand from the earlier part of the year when poor weather impacted fishing. Of the thirteen states included in this report, only five showed license sales increases through the third quarter of 2013. However, these five states were among the larger fishing states. For more information, contact Rob Southwick, Southwick Associates, (904) 277-9765.

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Mark Your Calendar for ICAST 2014 and 2015

Please mark your calendars for ICAST 2014 and 2015. Please note that we include Tuesday as the first day of the show to account for the New Product Showcase Preview Reception which is open to all registered buyers and credentialed media. We look forward to seeing you there.
ICAST 2014 – July 15 – 18, 2014, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
ICAST 2015 – July 14 – 17, 2015, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

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