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ASA staff made recreational fishing advocacy a priority at this year’s Progressive Miami International Boat Show, by further strengthening the industry’s long-standing relationship with the National Marine Fisheries Service. ASA staff spent almost an entire day with recently-named Assistant Administrator of NOAA Fisheries, Chris Oliver, discussing recreational fishing’s top legislative issues.

ASA at Miami Boat Show

The American Sportfishing Association's D.C. and Florida-based Government Affairs team with Chris Oliver (center), NOAA Fisheries head, at the Miami Boat Show.

On Thursday, ASA took advantage of a roundtable discussion, arranged by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Center for Sportfishing Policy that included an array of boating and fishing industry leaders. The group discussed with Oliver a myriad of topics including recreational fisheries management strategies, red snapper regulations and ways to improve recreational data collection.

“Strengthening our relationship with Assistant Administrator Oliver will help ASA and NOAA Fisheries in working together to address marine fisheries management and conservation challenges,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Conservation director. “Our conversations helped to highlight the importance of our industry to conservation and our nation’s economy. A lot of ground was covered, and he was very receptive, finding a great deal of overlap in NOAA’s priorities and ways we could work together to address them.”

Jeffrey Liederman (R), Seaqualizer's creator, explains how it impacts fish mortality with NOAA Fisheries head Chris Oliver.

Jeffrey Liederman (R), Seaqualizer's creator, explains how it impacts fish mortality with NOAA Fisheries head Chris Oliver.

During ASA’s time with Oliver, he was introduced to more than a dozen exhibitors, highlighting the undeniable economic impact of the industry. One of those exhibitors, Jeffery Liederman of SeaQualizer, produces an innovative tool designed to help deep water fish recover from the effects of barotrauma. The SeaQualizer, in turn, offers recreational anglers a safe, sustainable and humane way to catch and release deep water species, which helps conserve these fish populations and allow increased fishing opportunities.

For more information on about saltwater fisheries policy, contact Mike Leonard, 703-519-9691, x230.