On March 15, President Biden signed into law the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) omnibus appropriations package, a broad $1.5 trillion spending bill that funds the government through the conclusion of the fiscal year (September 30, 2022).
The bill contains 12 separate appropriations measures for the annual funding of federal agencies and governmental programs, along with two emergency funding measures related to Ukrainian aid and COVID-19 resources.
“The sportfishing industry is thankful for the hard work to address sportfishing funding priorities by House and Senate appropriations leaders, including Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii); and Reps. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Steve Palazzo (R-Miss.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.) ,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “While some others have complained that this spending bill doesn’t do enough for the environment, that clearly isn’t the case when it comes to the conservation priorities of the recreational fishing community. The funding and direction provided through this law can help ensure that fisheries remain abundant and more accessible into the future.”
Multiple funding measures in the bill help the nation’s recreational fishing industry, a $125 billion industry that supports over 825,000 American jobs. ASA worked with members of Congress to ensure that these measures were included.
Specific priorities in this bill for which ASA advocated include:
- Prohibiting the EPA from regulating or banning the use of lead in fishing tackle.
- Ensuring sustained funding for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account.
- Increasing funding for operations, maintenance and equipment used by the National Fish Hatchery System.
- Supporting the Great Lakes Science Center, which conducts biological assessments used for fishery management decisions made by federal, state and tribal agencies throughout the Great Lakes.
- Increasing funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which provides billions of dollars in relief for managing invasive species and habitat restoration.
- Funding the Chesapeake Bay Program, which distributes grants to states in the Chesapeake Bay area for pollution and runoff control.
- Providing $350 million for Everglades restoration, which comes on top of the $1.1 billion provided earlier this year through the infrastructure law.
- Funding for the Brandon Road lock and dam project, which will help prevent the flow of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.
- Increasing the NOAA budget for regional fisheries management councils and commissions.
- Dedicating an additional $16 million in funding to the National Marine Sanctuary System’s operations, research and facilities, which helps conserve marine resources and promote sustainable recreational fishing.
- Increasing funding for state management programs for Gulf Red Snapper.
- Funding the Northeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program which collects important fishery data from the Northeast.
- Funding implementation of the Modern Fish Act.
- Sustained funding for a multiyear, agency-independent study of South Atlantic red snapper abundance.
- Direction to NOAA Fisheries to assess the abundance of Atlantic menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
- Funding the Coral Reef Program which coordinates work between NOAA’s National Ocean Service, academic institutions and non-governmental research organizations to establish innovative restoration projects for coral reefs.