Ahead of the August Recess, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund — a program that supports about $650 million annually in fishery restoration and conservation efforts, boating access and infrastructure, as well as fish stocking programs important to recreational anglers.
Reauthorizing the Trust Fund is a top priority for the recreational boating community, and the committee’s swift consideration and passage drew praise from NMMA, which helped spearhead the efforts. In addition to reauthorizing the Trust Fund, the bill would require studies on the impacts of non-motorized vessel use on vessel waterway access and the impacts of abandoned vessels. NMMA has long advocated for these studies and thanks the bills’ sponsors for including the provisions.
Although there is strong support for the Trust Fund, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) were the only committee members to oppose reauthorizing the popular program. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. In the U.S. House of Representatives, lawmakers recently approved a large infrastructure measure that included the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2019.