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Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1061 into law, which creates the new Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve and protect about 400,000 acres of seagrass in the state’s waters. Off Florida’s west coast, seagrass beds stretch for miles and for decades have supported a significant part of the regional economy. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve off Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties is the first new preserve to be designated in more than 30 years and the 42nd in a state system designed to maintain water quality and biological value to ensure healthy ecosystems. The preserve, which covers part...

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Alexandria, VA – June 15 , 2020 – On June 12, NOAA Fisheries issued the final rule requiring descending devices to be rigged and ready for use on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper-grouper species in South Atlantic federal waters. The rule will go into effect on July 15, 2020, for all commercial, for-hire and private recreational vessels. When deep-water fish are brought rapidly to the surface, they can experience barotrauma – a condition where a buildup of gas pressure in their bodies makes it difficult or impossible to swim back down. If an angler releases the fish (sometimes necessary...

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Alexandria, VA – June 1, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently met with recreational fishing and boating industry leaders at Maverick Boat Group, Inc. in Fort Pierce, Fla., to discuss marine recreational fishing access and the importance of marine recreation to the U.S. economy. Following a tour of the manufacturing facility, Secretary Ross indicated good news is ahead for South Atlantic red snapper and that his office is finalizing the rule requiring descending devices onboard vessels targeting snapper grouper in the South Atlantic. During the visit, Secretary Ross spoke with the group about the challenges facing the marine...

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The draft bill, titled America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, was recently released by the leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.). “Sound management and conservation of America’s waterways is always important, but even more so at this time, given the economic fallout related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policies set forth in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 are vital to create jobs and help struggling communities across the country who depend on access to healthy waterways,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “The recreational...

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Amid growing closures and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) recently sent letters to each of the fifty governors requesting that they keep recreational fishing opportunities and businesses open as much as possible.The letters were delivered to the governors’ offices on Friday, March 27.“In no way do we want to stand in the way of states’ efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and we recognize that in certain cases fishing access restrictions are warranted,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “In general, ASA believes that recreational fishing should be promoted as...

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