Recreational fishermen could be granted access to federal waters

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHG/WECP) - The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed bipartisan legislation Wednesday aimed at giving recreational fisherman increased access to federal waters while adhering to responsible conservation goals.

The Bill Nelson-sponsored bill, known as the Modern Fish Act, will improve the management of recreational fisheries by modernizing data collection to more accurately estimate the abundance of fish stocks.

It will also establish a better process to allocate fishery resources between private anglers and commercial fishermen.

Senator Bill Nelson said, “Not only will this legislation help level the playing field and directly benefit avid saltwater fishing enthusiasts, it also acknowledges the valuable role they play in Florida’s economy.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission states that recreational fishing in Florida has an estimated economic impact of around $8 billion.

They go on to say that recreational fishing is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs.

The legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.