Federal bill promoting fish habitat conservation clears Senate committee

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works support Senate Bill 1514 (S. 1514), July 26, giving the proposal the green light to inch ahead in the legislative process.

S. 1514, supported by the American Sportfishing Association, aims to increase certain protections for anglers and fish habitats.

The bill still has to face a vote by the entire Senate before moving to the House of Representatives for consideration. Pres. Donald J. Trump would receive the bill for signature, if it clears both houses of Congress.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, introduced S. 1514 in June.

S. 1514, if approved, would authorize the National Fish Habitat Partnership and potentially limit federal regulations on lead fishing tackle.

The National Fish Habitat Partnership is an initiative to promote habitat conservation and increase fishing opportunities. A 25-member board would oversee the partnership program and establish priorities for fish habitat conservation.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) had introduced the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (S. 1436) exactly one month ahead of S. 1514.

The bill stated there are about 60 million anglers in the United States. Recreational fishing, according to S. 1436, supports more than 828,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $115 billion.

“Healthy populations of fish depend on the conservation, protection, restoration, and enhancement of fish habitats in the United States,” a portion of S. 1436 stated. “At least 40 percent of all threatened species and endangered species in the United States are directly dependent on fish habitats.”

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