On April 18, 2023, US Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced the Protection of Access for Hunters and Fishermen Act (S. 1185). If enacted, this legislation would prohibit federal land management agencies, namely the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management, from prohibiting the use of traditional tackle and ammunition on public lands unless such action is supported by the best available science and state fish and wildlife agencies. The companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year, led by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.).
The bill ensures that sportsmen’s access is not unfairly barred and that anglers across America can be confident in the performance and affordability of lead. Protecting the traditional gear is essential to ensure that anglers can continue to enjoy this sport.
The bill was introduced in response to a recent FWS rule that would ban traditional rigging on some National Wildlife Refuges.
“The sport fishing industry thanks Senators Daines for introducing the Hunter and Angler Access Protection Act of 2023,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “Decisions about what gear anglers can use should be based on science, not emotion. This bill will uphold state fish and wildlife agencies as the proper authorities to make science-based decisions about lead fishing rigs.”
Hughes added that this legislation is important to ensure that ASA achieves its goal of ensuring that America’s public lands remain open and accessible for generations to come.
Additional information on this legislation can be found on the ASA website. ASA also encourages supporters to express their support for this legislation and urge their senators to co-sponsor this bill through our Keep America Fishing Action Center, which can be found here.
The American Sport Fishing Association (ASA) is the trade association for the sport fishing industry committed to representing the interests of the sport fishing and boating industries, as well as the entire sport fishing community. We provide the industry and anglers with a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect the sport fishing business or sport fishing itself. ASA invests in companies for the long term to ensure the industry remains strong and prosperous, as well as to safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation, and social values of America’s sport fishing. ASA also gives America’s 55 million fishermen a voice in political decisions that affect their ability to fish sustainably in our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national fisherman advocacy campaign. America’s fishermen generate more than $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating jobs for 825,000 people.