Skip to main content

Senate Considers Outdoors Bills

Sportmen's Heritage Act the most ‘diverse, pro-sportsmen legislative package' in years

Senate Considers Outdoors Bills
Bill introduced to the Senate would aide sportsmen. (James Overstreet photo)

It’s nice to have friends in high places, and the Senate could make anglers and hunters rejoice if it were to pass a large package of pro-sportsmen legislation that was introduced as an amendment to the Farm Bill.

Introduced by co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 addresses several key issues that are impacting the sportfishing industry and anglers.

The package features two bills that recently passed the House of Representatives as a part of the Sportsmen's Heritage Act, including legislation that prevents a federal ban of lead fishing tackle and ammunition. The Sportsmen's Act of 2012 features several other provisions that will advance the conservation of fish habitat and populations and increase recreational fishing opportunity.

"The Sportsmen's Act of 2012 is the largest, most diverse pro-sportsmen legislative package introduced in recent memory," American Sportfishing Association Vice President Gordon Robertson said. "The sportfishing industry thanks Sens. Tester and Thune for addressing some of the biggest issues that are affecting sportsmen and women. From improving habitat conservation to increasing public access, passage of the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 would represent one of the biggest advancements for recreational fishing in years."


The Sportsmen's Act of 2012 features 19 bills that promote our nation's recreational fishing, hunting and shooting heritage, eight of which will have significant specific impacts on the sportfishing community.


Of particular note are:

The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S. 838) – This section will block ongoing attempts to ban lead in recreational fishing equipment and ammunition by clarifying the Toxic Substances Control Act. Recent attempts to overregulate sportfishing equipment in a non-scientific fashion by anti-fishing interests represent one of the largest threats to the sport.

National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (S. 1201) – This section will authorize the National Fish Habitat Partnership, an initiative that seeks to protect, restore and enhance fish habitat on a range-wide scale. This non-regulatory partnership is the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to voluntarily conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats nationwide.

Billfish Conservation Act (S. 1451) – This section will conserve declining billfish populations by prohibiting the commercial sale and importation of billfish throughout the U.S., with an exception in the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Area islands to preserve traditional fisheries. It is currently illegal to harvest or import Atlantic-caught billfish into the U.S., but billfish from other oceans come into U.S. markets in substantial numbers.


Report on Artificial Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico – This section would require the Department of the Interior to develop a report on its Idle Iron policy, which requires the removal of idle drilling platforms, in order to develop a coordination strategy between agencies and states. These platforms represent the world's largest network of artificial reefs and provide habitat for marine species on an otherwise barren seafloor.

Making Public Lands Public Act (S. 901) – This section will address one of the most significant obstacles to sportfishing – lack of access to public lands and waters. This language will increase access to angling, hunting and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands, by directing 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure that fishing, hunting and other recreational activities are accessible.

"There is no doubt that the thousands of anglers who have supported these individual provisions through KeepAmericaFishing™ played an important role in the introduction of this amendment," said Robertson. "This clearly demonstrates the impact that anglers can have when speaking collectively with one voice. With passage of this bill, anglers will see the rewards of their efforts on the water."


The Senate voted on June 7 to advance the 2012 Farm Bill discussions, which will cover the potential inclusion of the Sportsmen's Act of 2012.

"While Sportsmen's Act of 2012 addresses many of the key issues impacting recreational fishing today, there are still other legislative measures important to the sportfishing community that we hope to see move this year. With Congress' support, we can overcome the obstacles facing sportsmen and women and improve conservation efforts nationwide," Robertson said.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pros: What

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

New Gloves from Fish Monkey

New Gloves from Fish Monkey

Quick look at Stealth, Half-Fingered & Stubby gloves; 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Tackle Test 2020: Lew

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

In this ICAST Fishing Gear Guide video, Mark Mills with Daiwa and Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley talk off-shore fishing gear.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish Catfish

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 21, 2020

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters...

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them.10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help? Hunting How-To

Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help?

Adam Heggenstaller - August 19, 2020

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

There's no reason you can't be prepared if you catch a state-record fish.Think It's a State Record? Now What? Stories

Think It's a State Record? Now What?

M.D. Johnson - March 26, 2020

There's no reason you can't be prepared if you catch a state-record fish.

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will combine the top two hunting and fishing retailers in the United StatesBass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal Stories

Bass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal

Abhijith Ganapavaram and Sruthi Shankar

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will...

A father-son fishing outing for bass culminated into a catch that tied a state record for yellow perch in Tennessee.Father-Son Outing Results in Tied State Record Stories

Father-Son Outing Results in Tied State Record

Game & Fish Online Staff - August 08, 2018

A father-son fishing outing for bass culminated into a catch that tied a state record for...

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a lake's optimal water temperatures.For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key Stories

For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key

Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now