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September 07, 2012

The Politics Of Fish

Identifying the friends of saltwater anglers on Capitol Hill

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

Mary Landrieu(Small Business — chair, Homeland Security, Energy)

Both Mary Landrieu and her Republican colleague from the Bayou State, Sen. David Vitter, are anglers. So it’s natural for them to stand together for recreational fishing. Landrieu chairs the Small Business Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. A member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Landrieu was an ­original co-sponsor of the Fishery Science Improvement Act. A leading voice for Gulf Coast recovery, she championed the RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economy of the Gulf Coast), allocating 80 percent of any Clean Water Act fines for the 2010 BP oil spill to the five Gulf states. The Gulf of Mexico is facing some of the biggest fishery-management challenges in the country, and anglers can take heart in knowing that Louisiana’s members of Congress are joining Landrieu in working with sport-fishing interests to break management logjams and seize new opportunities, such as Rigs to Reefs efforts to save ­decommissioned oil rigs from federal removal.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska

Lisa Murkowski(Energy — ranking member, Appropriations, Health, Pensions, Indian Affairs)

Her office filled with photographs of family fishing trips, Lisa Murkowski is a natural: She’s a natural advocate for recreational fishing and a natural supporter of her commercial-fishing ­constituents, as well as a consensus builder on Capitol Hill, with a focus on effective fisheries management. She and fellow Alaska senator Mark Begich are both supporters of responsible stewardship and sound science-based fishery management. As such, she was also an original co-sponsor of the Fishery Science Improvement Act. She serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, and is co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus. Sen. Murkowski is an active participant on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and understands the need to maintain healthy and productive recreational fisheries nationwide.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Bill Nelson(Commerce, Finance, Budget, Aging, Intelligence)

A key member of the important Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Nelson has stood tall for fishermen for many years. That’s with good reason: Roughly a quarter of the nation’s saltwater anglers reside in Florida. He is the Senate’s lead author of the Fishery Science Improvement Act and is working actively to ensure passage of this important legislation in this Congress. Nelson is also an original co-sponsor of the Billfish Conservation Act. He and fellow Florida senator Marco Rubio have stood shoulder to shoulder on sport-fishing issues. A native Floridian, Bill Nelson was a key negotiator in this Congress for the passage of the RESTORE Act (explained in text for Sen. Mary Landrieu, left).

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Marco Rubio(Commerce, Foreign Relations, Small Business, Intelligence)

In terms of economic impact of recreational fishing, no state comes close to Florida: Overall it’s a $17 billion-a-year industry for the Sunshine State. Marco Rubio understands fishing, and he understands the fishing and boating business. He stepped up early to lead on the Fishery Science Improvement Act and is a co-author of the Billfish Conservation Act. He and fellow Florida senator Bill Nelson have spoken with one voice on recreational-fishing matters. Rubio is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics Affairs. Anglers have a sympathetic ear and strong leader in Marco Rubio.