Gosar Fish Hatchery Bill Passes Natural Resources Committee
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House Natural Resources Committee voted 25-17 during a legislative markup to successfully pass his sponsored legislation H.R. 5026, the Fish Hatchery Protection Act.
“Today the Natural Resources Committee passed my commonsense legislation to protect vital recreational fishing industries that provide jobs and important revenues for rural communities throughout the country. I am pleased to see that my colleagues on the Committee agree that only Congress should authorize the termination of fish hatchery facilities or programs.
“Recent testimony heard from the Fish and Wildlife Service on the bill made clear that Service failed to hold a public comment period and did not consider job losses or associated economic impact before terminating important recreational fishing programs. Even Deputy Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Steve Guertin, admitted, “This was not our [the Fish and Wildlife Service’s] finest hour.”
This continues a disturbing trend of big government, bureaucratic decisions that harm local communities and this overreach by the Fish and Wildlife Service must be stopped.”
(Rep. Gosar pictured with Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Hildy Angius after her testimony regarding H.R. 5026 on July 23, 2014)
The Fish Hatchery Protection Act preserves propagation fish hatcheries and propagation programs within the National Fish Hatchery System and stipulates that only Congress can authorize the termination or significant alteration of such facilities and programs.
In November 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service arbitrarily changed the priorities for the five different propagation program categories and announced their intent to close propagation programs and possibly hatcheries throughout the nation in fiscal year 2015.
The bureaucratic decision to terminate recreational fishing propagation programs is extremely misguided as several of the hatcheries affected were constructed more than 50 years ago for the sole purpose of offsetting the loss of native fisheries resulting from the construction of federal dams.
By the Fish and Wildlife Service’s own estimates, the National Fish Hatchery System returns $28 to the national economy for every dollar spent and $3.6 billion to our economy annually.