This month, the National Marine Manufacturers Association will participate in a host of events to reinforce its ongoing advocacy efforts for recreational angling. Working alongside a range of industry partners, with Congress in session a final time before Election 2016, NMMA will shine a light on key priorities for the fishing and boating industries and identify ways to continue to keep these industries at the forefront of the minds of decision makers on Capitol Hill.
“It’s paramount that the recreational boating and angling industries continue to work closely together to ensure a future for our nation’s anglers,” said Nicole Vasilaros, National Marine Manufacturers Association vice president. “During a critical election year, we’re taking the opportunity to meet with legislators in the final weeks Congress is in session before the elections to ensure fishing and boating remain top of mind and bring further attention to important fishing topics that matter to our entire industry.”
NMMA is participating in the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) annual meeting this week (September 12-14 in Philadelphia) to kick off its advocacy efforts in September, and will meet with state fish and wildlife agencies to discuss freshwater and saltwater challenges.
Following the AFWA annual meeting, NMMA will join industry partners on Capitol Hill for two briefings:
The first is the Congressional Boating Caucus on September 15, which will be structured as a panel discussion to address the House and Senate on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and critical infrastructure and water quality projects contained in the pending legislation. WRDA is set for renewal this year. This panel will also take a look at waterways infrastructure needs and critical issues facing Everglades’ restoration. Co-hosts for the panel discussion are BoatUS, Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA), American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC), Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Panelists include Kelli Ralston, ASA/Keep Florida Fishing, James Erskine, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Jim Sartucci, K&L Gates.
“The Congressional Boating Caucus briefing will be a very timely and important discussion as the Senate just began floor deliberations on the WRDA legislation,” noted Vasilaros.
On September 21, NMMA and ASA will participate in the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus breakfast briefing, where NMMA President Thom Dammrich will speak about the importance of recreational angling to the boating industry and its support of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s new ‘60 in 60’ campaign, created with a goal to increase the number of anglers from 46 million each year to 60 million in 60 months – by 2021.
NMMA’s efforts on Capitol Hill this month are on the heels of President Obama’s Proclamation to expand a national marine monument in Hawaii while permitting recreational fishing. NMMA worked with the ASA and CCC to impress upon the Obama Administration the need for continued recreational access for any marine monument designation.
“The President’s recent Proclamation is an important example of how resource conservation and recreational activities, such as sportfishing and boating, can go hand in hand, and furthermore, how NMMA and industry partners can work together to make an impact on Capitol Hill.” said Vasilaros.