Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to approve several bipartisan spending packages for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The FY2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act and the FY2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agency Appropriations Act were both passed out of committee.

“The FY2020 CJS appropriations bill continues to make significant progress to improve the federal funding and policy of federal marine fisheries management,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “Chairman Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) leadership over the years to improve management of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper population cannot be overstated, and his support for the recreational fishing community is evident in the FY2020 CJS spending bill. This bill contains numerous provisions that will benefit fisheries management, conservation and data collection in the Gulf of Mexico and nationwide.”

The CJS Appropriations Act funds many provisions related to fisheries management, conversation, and research. The following provisions included in this federal spending bill are of particular importance to the recreational fishing industry:
  • Improvements in fisheries data collection, assessments and surveys, including:
    • $5 million to continue supporting the Gulf States to make sure successful implementation of state-based management of red snapper recreational fishing;
    • $5 million for new independent estimates of greater amberjack abundance in the Gulf of Mexico;
    • $2.5 million for implementation of the Modern Fish Act to support collaborative programs focused on improving recreational fishery data collection;
    • $2 million for Gulf of Mexico reef fish surveys, research, and sampling;
    • $1.5 million for employing the Gulf of Mexico’s independent and alternative stock assessment strategies to South Atlantic snapper grouper.
  • Increased funding to support the Regional Fishery Management Councils and Interstate Marine Fisheries Commissions, which play a vital role in the cooperative management of the nation’s marine fisheries.
  • Continued funding for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, which provides critical national and state-level data on the economic value of outdoor recreation activities, including fishing and boating.
  • Support for Pacific salmon management and conservation, including sustained funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and a $19 million increase for implementation of the 2018 Pacific Salmon Treaty.
“The sportfishing industry is grateful to Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and members of the subcommittee for their support for projects and programs in the FY2020 Interior appropriations bill that benefit the nation’s 49 million anglers and their $125 billion annual economic impact,” said Leonard. “This bill contains numerous provisions that will support healthy fisheries resources throughout the country. It’s rewarding to see the Senate Appropriations Committee listen to the priories of the recreational fishing industry and recognize the importance of sufficient federal funding to help sustain the resources upon which our industry depends.”

The FY2020 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act funds the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as other related agencies such as the Council on Environmental Quality. The following provisions included in this spending bill are of particular importance to the recreational fishing industry:
  • Continuing to make sure traditional fishing tackle is not subject to unnecessary and burdensome federal regulation.
  • Increased funding for the National Fish Hatchery System, which enhances recreational fishing and public use of aquatic resources throughout the country, aids in the recovery of federally listed threatened or endangered species and helps restore imperiled species.
  • A $14 million increase in funding aimed at enhancing Asian carp activities in the Great Lakes to prevent them from entering and gaining a foot hold in the Great Lakes and for Asian carp activities in the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
  • Increased funding for several of EPA’s geographic programs that support invasive species control, habitat restoration and other aquatic resource conservation projects, including in the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay and South Florida.
  • Bolstering the scientific review of the dangerous Pebble Mine permit in Alaska to make sure concerns of the recreational fishing community and other stakeholders are addressed through the review process.