The Marine Retailers Association
of the Americas (MRAA) is asking Congress to reauthorize the Sport Fish
Restoration and Boating Trust Fund with some recommended amendments to the
allocation of program funds.
The Trust Fund, which is funded
by $600 million collected annually from taxes on fishing tackle, import duties
on boats and equipment, and a federal excise tax on motorboat gasoline, was
created in 1950 and has been amended and expanded several times since. It
serves as the backbone for fishery conservation and is a critical tool for a
diverse set of state and national recreational fishing and boating programs.
MRAA supports reauthorization of
the Trust Fund with some recommended improvements. These include the following
increases in fund allocation: Coastal wetlands from 15.36 percent to 18.5
percent; Clean Vessel Account and Boating Infrastructure Grant program from 2
percent to 2.1 percent; Outreach and Participation from 2 percent to 2.2
percent; Sport Fish Restoration from 57 percent to 57.2 percent; and
Recreational Boating Safety from 18. 5 percent to 18.7 percent. In addition,
MRAA supports an allocation of $300,000 from the 15 percent allotted for
angling and boating access to address specific access concerns, and allocating
a certain portion of the Clean Vessel program funds for capital improvements to
minimize pollutant introduction into our nation's waterways.