As part of National Fishing and Boating Week, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA-6), introduced the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2021 (H.R. 3702) – a bill that reauthorizes the $742 million Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (Trust Fund) program.
Reauthorizing the Trust Fund is a top priority of the recreational boating community, and the introduction drew praise from NMMA, who helped spearhead the efforts.
The Trust Fund supports fishery restoration and conservation efforts, boating access and infrastructure, as well as fish stocking programs important to recreational anglers in all 50 states. NMMA appreciates the efforts of Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Wicker, who is a co-chair of the Congressional Boating Caucus.
The House bill also had five other original sponsors, including Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-7), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX-33), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-4), Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), and Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-8).
In addition to reauthorizing the Trust Fund, the bill would require studies on the impacts of non-motorized vessel use on waterway access as well as the impact of abandoned vessels. NMMA has long advocated for these studies and thanks the sponsors for including the provisions.
Additionally, the bill would authorize the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to advise the Department of Commerce, in addition to the Department of Interior.
NMMA will continue to monitor the progress of this bill in Congress and hopes it gets to the president’s desk before the end of the year.