The U.S. Senate unanimously passed America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, (ACE Act), a package of natural resource management and conservation provisions that the recreational sportfishing industry touts as “a massive win,” according to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).
“The ACE Act would be a massive win for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the country,” said ASA government affairs vice president Mike Leonard in a statement.
The legislation authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership, an endeavor that brings together local, state and federal partners to coordinate and conduct on-the-ground aquatic habitat restoration projects for the benefit of recreational fishing. It also protects lead fishing tackle from what ASA calls unwarranted regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency for the next five years. Finally, it reauthorizes and boosts funding for programs critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the country’s largest estuary that also serves as a critical nursery for sportfish throughout the Atlantic region.
The ACE Act previously passed the Senate in January, but negotiations with the House resulted in minor changes to the bill, requiring a vote on the updated version. The legislation will move to the House of Representatives, where a vote is expected soon.