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House passes recreational fishing bill

A package of legislative provisions that will benefit recreational fishing and hunting passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.

H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, passed by a vote of 242-161. It now awaits Senate action.

The American Sportfishing Association said the bill contains numerous provisions to improve public access to federal lands and guard against new regulations that threaten to limit access to fishing and hunting.

“Given all that is going on in the world of politics, for our nation’s sporting traditions to receive full consideration by the House of Representatives demonstrates that our congressional leaders recognize the importance of recreational fishing and hunting to the nation,” American Sportfishing Association vice president of government affairs Scott Gudes said in a statement. “The Sportsmen’s Act is one of the recreational fishing industry’s top priorities, and we are thrilled to see it one step closer to being signed into law.”

The SHARE Act, also known as the Sportsmen’s Act, was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus co-chairmen Reps. Rob Wittman, R-Va., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., and vice chairmen Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Gene Green, D-Texas.

“In addition to the bill’s sponsors, House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is to be commended for his leadership in seeing the SHARE Act through to its final passage by the House,” Gudes said.

“We are particularly pleased that Congress defeated a detrimental amendment by Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., to strike important language that safeguards against unwarranted fishing closures, such as what is happening at Biscayne National Park,” said Mike Leonard, the ASA’s ocean resource policy director. “Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., delivered powerful remarks on the House floor in opposition to the Beyer amendment, and we thank her for her continued leadership on behalf of Florida’s recreational fishing community.”