Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Congressman Trent Kelly (R-MS-1) visited NauticStar Boats (NauticStar) for a manufacturing tour and to discuss recreational fishing and boating industry priorities with new NauticStar president Scott Womack.
NauticStar, based in Amory, Miss., employs 250 people in its more than 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
Along the tour, Senator Wicker and Congressman Kelly met NauticStar employees and saw the boat building process first-hand. During the visit, Womack addressed policy priorities of the recreational fishing and boating community, including Modern Fish Act enforcement, impacts of COVID-19 on the industry, and recreational access to America’s public resources.
In 2018, Senator Wicker led the charge to pass the Modern Fish Act, the first-ever piece of sportfishing-focused legislation to be signed into law that recognizes recreational and commercial fishing are fundamentally different endeavors and adds more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.
According to NMMA, recreational boating has an annual economic impact in Mississippi of $1.8 billion, supporting more than 8,000 jobs and 208 businesses across the state. There are currently more than 127,000 registered boats in The Magnolia State.
“I enjoyed speaking with employees at NauticStar this morning and seeing how the recreational boating industry is recovering in Mississippi,” said Senator Wicker. “This industry supports thousands of jobs in our state and has a large economic impact. I am continuing to work on a number of policies that will help more Americans get out on the water to fish, play, or relax.”
“Recreational boating and fishing are mainstays in the First District where residents and tourists enjoy access to the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, numerous lakes and tributaries,” said Congressman Kelly. “NauticStar Boats meets the growing consumer demand with unique, made-to-order boats, hand-crafted by our skilled, hardworking Mississippians. NauticStar continues to have a positive impact on our economy and, most importantly, the people of Monroe County.”
“It was an honor for our NauticStar team to host Senator Wicker and Congressman Kelly today. We want to particularly thank Senator Wicker for his leadership in driving the Modern Fish Act through the finish line,” said Womack. “Senator Wicker and Congressman Kelly’s interest in our industry shows how they support the NauticStar mission to bring a unique boating experience to everyone. Our employees really enjoyed sharing how they bring the most versatile lineup of boats to the market every day.”
In Mississippi, saltwater recreational anglers annually spend $625 million on trip and durable goods expenditures, generate nearly $505 million in total sales impacts and support 5,162 total jobs, according to NOAA Fisheries.
“We thank Senator Wicker and Congressman Kelly for visiting NauticStar today and hearing from the men and women of the industry on the importance of recreational fishing and boating to their families, their community and to Mississippi,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.