Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing titled "Our Blue Economy: Successes and Opportunities" to examine the need for increased federal investments in ocean technologies and fisheries – a top advocacy priority of the recreational boating and fishing community. NMMA board member Scott Deal, President and CEO of Florida-based Maverick Boat Group testified at the hearing and outlined three basic tenants required to support the businesses and jobs behind the industry: updated and robust infrastructure, a clean and healthy environment, and sound fisheries management policy.
According to Deal’s testimony, “While most people think of the boating industry as a fun form of recreation, the term ‘recreation’ is a misnomer — boating means business… recreational fishing is more than a family enjoying the water on a Saturday afternoon. It provides for hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Anglers and boaters are good stewards of the environment. We need clean water and sustainable fisheries to enjoy our sport. We directly contribute to infrastructure and conservation efforts, totaling $600 million annually through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Recreational anglers take only two percent of the finfish in America’s oceans, while generating more than half the jobs in the entire fishing industry.”
Deal concluded his remarks by stating, “The boating and fishing community looks forward to continuing to work with you, Mr. Chairman, the members of this committee and the administration to maximize economic contributions to the Blue Economy and keep our oceans sustainable for generations to come.”
Deal’s full testimony is available here.
Prior to the hearing, NMMA senior vice president of government relations and legal affairs, Nicole Vasilaros stated, "With over $170 billion in annual economic impact and supporting 690,000 U.S. jobs and 35,000 businesses, the recreational boating industry is an important contributor to the Blue Economy. Building on this success, however, requires continued awareness and investment in infrastructure and conservation efforts throughout the country. We would like to thank Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for their dedication and leadership on this issue and for initiating this dialogue on how the new Congress can ensure these policies remain top priorities.”