Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boats, made waves in Washington yesterday after several successful Capitol Hill and National Press Club briefing events. The duo, co-chairs of the Morris-Deal Commission, joined partners from the American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmens Foundation, Center for Coastal Conservation, National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, to educate members of Congress and the media on a recently unveiled report titled, A Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries.
The group first met with the Congressional Sportsmens Foundation (CSF), kicking off its first briefing of the year. CSF, joined by eight members of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) including Reps. Latta, M. Thompson, Wittman, Coble, and Garcia. Congressional staff, members of the CSF Board of Directors and representatives of the recreational fishing and boating communities filled the room. The briefing focused on the necessary framework for a marine fisheries management system that addresses the needs of anglers and the industry, while enhancing the full-range of economic, social and conservation benefits recreational fishing provides to the nation. One major point made during the event noted that the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSA) has always been geared towards commercial fishing and every amendment since it's enactment in 1976 has been for commercial fishing. It's time now that recreational fishing receives some attention.
Following the CSF event, Morris and Deal offered remarks to the media at the National Press Club where more than 35 attendees and reporters gathered to learn more about the economic impact of recreational fishing and boating. The media briefing also noted why the current Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act does not sufficiently address this important use of our nation's public fishery resources. Read the Washington Business Journal's take, here. To view social media updates and photos from the event, use #MarineVision2014.
After the morning's events, meetings were held with Senator Rubio and Begich's offices as both will be key players in the MSA re-authorization. These key meetings, in addition to the Hill and media briefings, lay the groundwork to begin the construction of draft legislation for this important issue.