The U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure that will provide opportunities for retired Navy ships to be considered for artificial reefs. This language was included as an amendment to H.R. 4350, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, which passed the House and awaits action by the full U.S. Senate.

The amendment was based on the Reusing Equipment for Environmental Fortification (REEF) Act, introduced by Rep. María Salazar (R-Fla.) and a strong bipartisan group of her colleagues. By increasing opportunities for retired naval vessels to be considered for artificial reefs, the REEF Act will help create new marine ecosystems and recreational fishing opportunities.

“Decommissioned vessels have successfully been converted into artificial reefs off our nation’s coastlines, benefiting the marine environment and becoming valuable fishing destinations,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “On behalf of the recreational fishing industry, we commend Rep. Salazar in particular for her leadership in ensuring that additional opportunities are not lost to convert retired naval vessels into artificial reefs.”

ASA spearheaded a letter from over a dozen recreational fishing and boating organizations in support of the REEF Act, and actively worked to gain cosponsors.

“The REEF Act would help give retired naval vessels an honorable new purpose, strengthening the ocean ecosystems that coastal communities and anglers depend on,” said Leonard.