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Wittman Introduces Bill to Conserve Fish Habitat

WASHINGTON – Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) introduced the bipartisan National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act. This legislation codifies National Fish Habitat Partnerships, an initiative that aims to achieve measurable habitat conservation results through strategic partnerships that lead to better fish habitat conditions and increased fishing opportunities.

“Healthy waterways and fish populations are absolutely critical to providing clean water and sustainable fisheries,” Wittman said. “I am proud to introduce this legislation as it will protect and restore aquatic communities around the nation through public-private partnerships to promote conservation. Our nation’s recreational anglers generate over $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on our economy. It is critical that we properly maintain this sector, incorporating the needs of our recreational and commercial fishermen.”

This bill codifies and supports a purely voluntary, non-regulatory, fish habitat conservation program. The partnerships are comprised of representatives of federal, state, and local agencies, conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, private landowners, and the business sector. This program then identifies and carries out fish habitat restoration projects throughout the country.

“America’s 49 million recreational fishermen and the 800,000 jobs supported by recreational fishing depend on healthy fisheries resources,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. “The sportfishing industry is grateful to Rep. Wittman and Rep. Veasey for their continued commitment to fisheries conservation by introducing National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act. This legislation will authorize and improve upon a successful partnership-based program that unites anglers, industry, state and federal agencies and other partners to help restore fish habitat in Virginia and throughout the nation.”

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community.