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Wittman’s SHARKED Act Passes U.S. House

Today, Congressman Rob Wittman’s (VA-01) bipartisan Supporting the Health of Aquatic systems through Research, Knowledge, and Enhanced Dialogue (SHARKED) Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The SHARKED Act will establish a task force to work with fisheries management groups to address the problems posed by increased shark depredation and identify research and funding opportunities for improving the current conditions of shark depredation.

“As a lifelong fisherman and former marine scientist, I’ve experienced firsthand the impacts of shark depredation and have witnessed its effect on our marine ecosystem,” said Congressman Wittman. “With the passage of my SHARKED Act today, we are taking important steps to conserve our marine life and protect sharks from unsafe conditions and food sources. At a time when Washington is often paralyzed with partisan gridlock, it is refreshing and encouraging to see bipartisan efforts like the SHARKED Act advance through the House. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this piece of legislation so the president can sign it into law.”

Congressman Garret Graves (LA-06), Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09), and Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33) joined Congressman Wittman in introducing the bill in June. The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee in September.

“Shark depredation is an issue affecting fishermen nationwide that needs to be addressed,” said Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) of the House Natural Resources Committee. “H.R. 4051 provides critical resources enabling the federal government to work with local communities to develop innovative solutions to the problem. Representative Wittman has been at the forefront of tackling this issue, and I look forward to working with him to pass this bill into law.“

“Today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives to unanimously pass the SHARKED Act is a demonstration of the breadth of support for this important bill,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “Saltwater recreational fishing is a huge part of the nation’s economy, contributing $73.8 billion in sales impacts and supporting 487,000 U.S. jobs. In many parts of the country, shark depredation is one of the top concerns of the recreational fishing community. We are grateful to Reps. Wittman, Soto and the other bill sponsors for advancing the SHARKED Act, which will help develop thoughtful and meaningful ways to mitigate this complicated challenge.”

Supporting organizations: American Fisheries Society, American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, BoatUS, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Guy Harvey Foundation, International Game Fish Association, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Professional Anglers Association, and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Click here to read the full bill text.