AFFTA POLICY PRIORITIES
The American Fly Fishing Trade Association is the nation’s largest fly fishing trade association and is dedicated to the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry. AFFTA’s more than 950 members, including fly fishing retail stores, manufacturers, outfitters, guides, and lodges, over $1 billion contributed annually to the U.S. economy by the fly fishing industry. Ours is a growing market. Between 2015 and 2016, net sales revenue of fly fishing products increased by 8.5%. In 2016, more than 4.5 million Americans went fly fishing at least once, and the number of anglers who fly fish is estimated at ten million. AFFTA is firmly committed to the principle that access to healthy habitat creates recreational opportunity and that recreational opportunity creates economic activity for our members. That equation drives our decisions on what public policy efforts we lend our support to. Below are some of the broad policy efforts we engage in.
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Reauthorization
The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), last amended in 2007, is up for reauthorization this Congress. AFFTA believes reauthorization efforts should concentrate on maintaining and strengthening the law’s conservation focus. In particular, AFFTA encourages MSA reform that increases protections for important habitats, considers the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification in fisheries management decisions, provides for ample forage fish populations, advances science-based tools and methods that foster more accurate and efficient data collection, and ensures adequate funding for managers to achieve the MSA’s mandates.
AFFTA’s Policy Statement on Federal Fisheries Policy and Management, developed by our Science and Policy Committee, sets out nine points we use to evaluate policy proposals related to MSA reauthorization.
Keeping Public Lands Public
Our nation’s public lands—including our national forests, BLM lands and national wildlife refuges—shape our national identity. They are critical to the future of fishing, hunting and wildlife, and the sustained economic health of communities bordering these lands. Millions of anglers use public lands and waters. Public lands are a necessity to the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy and the 7.6 million American jobs that depend upon these lands. If public lands are sold or transferred to states or private entities, our way of life would be in jeopardy. We strongly believe that public lands belong in public hands and we will oppose any divestiture or transfer of federal lands to the states.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
Created by Congress more than 50 years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a commitment to safeguarding our outdoor heritage by conserving lands. Permanent authorization and full funding for LWCF has long been a priority of anglers across the nation. LWCF, which enjoys bipartisan support, relies on offshore oil leases and not taxpayer funding. It invests in everything from fishing access sites and trails to conservation easements and parks.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 is one of our nation’s most important conservation tools. Sixteen presidents – eight republicans and eight democrats – have designated 157 national monuments to safeguard and preserve cultural and historical sites for all Americans to enjoy.
Pebble Mine/Bristol Bay
The Bristol Bay watershed is home to world-class salmon runs and a treasured fishing destination. AFFTA supports protections for Bristol Bay through the 404c process of the Clean Water Act. As wild salmon populations decline globally, the proposed Pebble Mine and other large-scale mining projects pose an imminent threat to the last prolific salmon run and the economies they support. We believe the risks from extraction threaten this fishery and the economic activity it represents to our members.