US legislation to take kids fishing

US Representatives have introduced the Youth Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2023.

The bill would create a grant program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for projects that take children fishing in the ocean or Great Lakes, with priority given to projects that serve underserved communities. This legislation is in line with the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA’s) goal of introducing new anglers – particularly young people – to recreational fishing.

“Recreational fishing provides substantial physical and mental health benefits, but unfortunately many young people – particularly in underserved communities – face significant barriers in accessing the outdoors,” said Mike Leonard, the American Sportfishing Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs. 

The bill provides $2 million in grants over each of the next five years for projects that include a recreational fishing experience for youth, offer education about marine science and conservation and provide information on where or how to fish. While other federal land management agencies, such as the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Forest Service, have dedicated programs to connect the public to nature, there is no such recreation program within the NOAA Fisheries, which manages federal marine fisheries.

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