Yesterday, American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Southeast Fisheries Policy Director Martha Guyas appeared at a press conference on the steps of the old Florida state Capitol, urging the Florida state legislature to pass legislation enshrining the Right to Hunt and Fish into the Florida state constitution (Florida H.J.R. 1157; Florida S.J.R. 1234).
“This legislation helps us maintain Florida’s sportfishing culture while also promoting conservation and ensuring future access to our vibrant fisheries,” said Guyas. “People value what they understand, and the connection with nature that people get while fishing helps anglers understand the importance of conservation to supporting healthy fisheries and fishing opportunities.”
Guyas noted that more than 4.3 million anglers fish in Florida each year, contributing nearly $14 billion in economic output and supporting more than 120,000 jobs.
Once the resolution is approved by both chambers, voters will decide whether to amend the state constitution by adding language that states in part, fishing and hunting “shall be preserved forever as a public right and preferred means of responsibly managing and controlling fish and wildlife.”
The press conference was organized by the International Order of Theodore Roosevelt (IOTR) and attended by Florida’s anglers and hunters. Speakers included IOTR Executive Director Luke Hilgemann, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Southeastern States Senior Coordinator Mark Lance, Florida State Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) and Florida State Representative Lauren Melo (R-Naples), both of whom are the lead sponsors of the respective resolutions.
Guyas concluded her remarks by thanking Senator Brodeur and Representative Melo for their leadership on the legislation. Additional information on ASA’s efforts throughout Florida and Keep Florida Fishing, ASA’s Florida advocacy arm, may be found here.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 55 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for 825,000 people.
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