The bill would establish a grant program to fund fishing programs for children
Today, legislation was introduced in Congress to provide opportunities for young people to enjoy the outdoors. The Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2022 was introduced in the House of Representatives by US Representatives Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) and Donald McEachin (D-Va.), along with 19 bipartisan co-sponsors. The Senate version was introduced by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
The bill would create a grant program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for projects that take kids fishing, prioritizing underserved communities. This legislation is in keeping with the goal of the American Sport Fishing Association (ASA) to introduce new anglers, especially youth, to recreational fishing.
“Countless studies show that while spending time on the water with family and friends has wide-ranging health benefits, youth and people in underserved communities face significant barriers to accessing the outdoors.” said ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard. “The grants provided through this bill will go a long way in removing those barriers and help children develop a love of fishing. We thank Representatives Salazar and McEachin and Senators Wicker and Cantwell for their work on this issue and look forward to their bipartisan support in Congress.”
“As someone who knows and appreciates the bounties of the marine and aquatic environment, I am pleased to provide younger generations of Americans across the country, especially minority Americans, the opportunity to learn firsthand about our seas, oceans and lakes. , as well as providing them with the tools to enjoy them”, Deputy Salazar said.
“Too many young Americans face serious financial, social and geographic barriers to experiencing our great outdoors,” said Rep. McEachin. “No child should not be able to participate in outdoor recreation simply because of their socioeconomic status or zip code. The bipartisan Coastal Youth Fishing Program Act will give our youth, especially those in historically underserved communities, new opportunities to get out there, cultivate a love and appreciation for fishing, and learn more about marine science and conservation.”
Under the legislation, a total of $2 million in grants would be distributed to projects that include a recreational fishing experience, offer marine science and conservation education, and provide information on where or how to fish. Additionally, grant applications will receive priority if they focus on serving underserved communities.
“More of our children should be fishing,” Senator Wicker said. “My Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act would get more young fishermen, particularly in underserved communities, out on the water to enjoy this hobby.”
“Fishing is one of our favorite pastimes in the Pacific Northwest, and our bill will support Washington state organizations that take kids fishing in their local coastal waters, rivers and bays.” Senator Cantwell said. “This bill will help more kids get the tools, equipment and support they need to experience the outdoors and the benefits that come with it.”
In the House, in addition to Representatives Salazar and McEachin, the Juvenile Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2022 is co-sponsored by Representatives Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Jared Huffman (D- Calif. ), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Troy Carter (D-La.), Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-Am. Sam.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif. ), Randy Weber (R-Tx.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Jeff Van Drew (RN.J.), Jenniffer González-Colón (RP.R.), Tom Suozzi (DN.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), and Austin Scott (R-Ga.).
You can find a brochure about the bill here and a letter of support signed by 21 organizations here.
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. We provide the industry and anglers with a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect the business of sport fishing or sport fishing itself. ASA invests in long-term business to ensure the industry remains strong and prosperous, as well as to safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sport fishing in the United States. ASA also gives America’s 55 million fishermen a voice in policy 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.