New Legislation Addresses Major Threats to Recreational Fishing

Good Language–Will It Help?

While we like the general language in a federal bill introduced by Florida’s Rep. Jeff Miller, we have to wonder whether the provisions would lead to specific changes.

Really important changes would be to open a recreational red snapper fishery in the South Atlantic and put an end to a never-ending, and costly, campaign aimed at imposing “catch shares” limits on anglers.

Here’s word of the Miller bill:

Lead weights such as these Bullet Weight Spider Sinkers used by pier fishermen would have been banned had the EPA not rejected a second petition to ban lead in fishing tackle.

On February 27, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) introduced the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089) with the support of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders Dan Benishek (R-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Don Young (R-AK) and Dan Boren (D-OK).

This legislative package addresses two very significant threats to recreational fishing: attempts to ban lead fishing tackle and loss of access to public lands. To learn more, read the bill text.

Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012

The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 includes language from the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act, which seeks to prevent a federal ban on lead in recreational fishing tackle and will ensure that any future regulations on fishing tackle are established based on scientific fact instead of unjustified, unsubstantiated petitions. In 2010 and 2012, anglers nationwide twice defeated anti-fishing efforts to federally ban lead fishing tackle.

Despite these monumental wins for anglers, attempts to overregulate our sport have not ended, as anti-fishing organizations are currently challenging these wins in court, further demonstrating the need for a legislative solution.

Another major threat to recreational fishing that is addressed in the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 is lack of access. In fact, it is the primary reason that keeps anglers from enjoying a day on the water. With expanding land development and growing regulations restricting angler access, federally owned lands are more important than ever for recreational fishing opportunity. The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 will increase access to angling, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands by prioritizing these activities within agencies’ land management plans.

Take Action

The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 will increase public access to our nation’s public lands, prevent an unjustified ban on fishing tackle and also promote the conservation values of hunting and recreational shooting. This legislative package offers tremendous opportunity to the sporting community and it is important that sportsmen and women speak up in support. Read more about the bill from the perspective of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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