The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has joined an unprecedented alliance of business, conservation, academic and tribal organisations to provide a solution to the decline of fish, wildlife and their natural habitats.
The news came on the same day as the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was introduced to provide funding to resolve the crisis. Described by the ASA as ‘the most important conservation legislation in a generation’, the bill will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based wildlife action plans.
A further $97.5 million will go to tribal fish and wildlife managers for conservation efforts on tribal lands and waters.
The bill was introduced on Earth Day by Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska). “As we celebrate Earth Day and continue our work to combat the biodiversity crisis, bold solutions are needed to safeguard our nation’s wildlife from further decline,” said Dingell. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act represents a strong commitment to addressing the current crisis using innovative, state-based management that will protect our nation’s environmental heritage for years to come.”
Calling the decline one of America’s greatest threats, the ASA said in a news release that an estimated one third of fish and wildlife species in the US are at risk of being endangered without funding for conservation. “Healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations drive many sectors of the economy, especially the £788 billion outdoor recreation industry,” said the Association.
“Not since the enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts have we had an opportunity to pass legislation of such importance for protecting what is every American’s birthright – our natural heritage.”
ASA Government Affairs Vice President, Mike Leonard, said that the sport fishing industry had for generations taken a lead role in conserving the country’s fish and wildlife resources by contributing to state-based conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration programme.”
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act presents an opportunity to complement the vital contributions of America’s recreational fishing community by providing state agencies with additional funds to proactively manage non-game species and fund conservation efforts that benefit both game and non-game species alike,” he added.
The new alliance has also sent a letter, signed by more than 350 partner organisations and businesses in support of the act, to the US House.