WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced the Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act. The bill would provide more young people with recreational fishing experiences and increase future fishing participation by establishing a grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for underserved communities.
“More of our children should be fishing,” Wicker said. “My Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act would get more young anglers, particularly in underserved communities, out on the water enjoying this pastime.”
“Fishing is one of our favorite pastimes in the Pacific Northwest, and our bill will support Washington state organizations that take kids fishing in their local coastal waters, rivers, and bays,” Cantwell said. “This bill will help more kids get the tools, gear, and support they need to experience the outdoors and the benefits that come with it.”
According to the American Sportfishing Association, 88% of current fishing participants began fishing before the age of 12. The Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act would help to expose more of America’s youngest citizens to this recreational sport. The bill would authorize $2 million for the Secretary of Commerce to establish grant-funded fishing programs through NOAA for nonprofit organizations, local governments, and education centers.
Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar (FL-27) and Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-4), along with 18 of their colleagues, introduced The Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act in the House of Representatives.
“Countless studies show that while there are ample health benefits to spending time on the water with family and friends, young people and those in underserved communities face significant barriers in accessing the outdoors,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “The grants provided through this bill will go a long way to remove those barriers and help children develop a love of fishing. We thank Representatives Salazar and McEachin and Senators Wicker and Cantwell for their work on this issue and look forward to its bipartisan support in Congress.”
Click here to read the bill.