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Sportfishing industry applauds passage of SHARKED Act

by American Sportfishing Association 13 Feb 01:07 UTC

The House of Representatives passed the Supporting the Health of Aquatic Systems through Research, Knowledge, and Enhanced Dialogue (SHARKED) Act (H.R. 4051). The bipartisan SHARKED Act, introduced by Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA.), Darren Soto (D-FL.), Garret Graves (R-LA) and Marc Veasey (D-TX), cleared the chamber by unanimous vote.

"Today's action by the U.S. House of Representatives to unanimously pass the SHARKED Act is a demonstration of the breadth of support for this important bill," said Mike Leonard, the American Sportfishing Association's Vice President of Government Affairs. "Saltwater recreational fishing is a huge part of the nation's economy, contributing $73.8 billion in sales impacts and supporting 487,000 U.S. jobs. We are grateful to Reps. Wittman, Soto, and the other bill sponsors for advancing the SHARKED Act, which will help develop thoughtful and meaningful ways to mitigate this complicated challenge."

Once passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden, the SHARKED Act directs NOAA to create a task force to study shark depredation, which is the consumption of a fishing catch by a shark before it is retrieved by a fisherman.

These interactions, becoming more common for saltwater anglers, can result in damage to or loss of fish, bait and gear. Additionally, there are concerns that increased shark depredation on hooked fish and scavenging of released fish are reducing fish survival, negatively impacting fisheries.

Recognizing the multilayered nature in which federal and state agencies, as well as international treaties, govern the management of shark populations, ASA released a proposed framework in 2022 that incorporates four pillars we hope the task force will use to guide their work: Education, Management, Policy, and Research.

We look forward to seeing this important legislation cross the finish line.

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