Fishing & Boating News

Sportfishing Champions To Be Honored AT Capitol Hill Reception Celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week

by: Janet Tennyson, Director of Co,

(Jun. 07, 2004 - ) The American Sportfishing Association will present its most prestigious honors to two extraordinary sportfishing advocates at an evening reception on Capitol Hill June 8, 2004, part of National Fishing and Boating Week celebrations. U.S. Senator John Breaux (D-LA) will be honored with the Norville Prosser Lifetime Achievement Award, and Tom Bedell, Chairman of Pure Fishing, Inc. of Spirit Lake, Iowa, will receive the Future of Fishing Award. The reception will take place at Senate Caucus Room 325 in the Russell Senate Office Building from 5:30–7:30 p.m. “The sportfishing champions we give thanks to this year, Senator John Breaux and Tom Bedell, have been catalysts for so many milestones that have positively influenced the fishing experience across America,” said Mike Nussman, President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. The Norville Prosser Lifetime Achievement Award, named after the American Sportfishing Association's former Vice President for Government Affairs, is given for extraordinary contributions to fisheries conservation and the advancement of sportfishing in America. The Future of Fishing Award pays tribute to those who design new approaches to expand fishing participation. Both awards are given annually as part of the association's activities highlighting the social, economic, and conservation values of sportfishing during the National Fishing and Boating Week observance, taking place nationwide June 5-13 this year. Senator Breaux, who will retire this fall after serving in Congress for 32 years, is being recognized for his longstanding and steadfast support for fishing, and for his leadership in mobilizing bipartisan support for important fisheries issues.  Senator Breaux co-sponsored the 1984 amendments to the Sport Fish Restoration Act, ultimately putting more than 4 billion additional dollars into fishing and boating across the country. The Sport Fish Restoration Act (commonly called Wallop-Breaux) now pumps half a billion dollars in excise tax investments to states each year for fisheries and habitat conservation, fishing and boating access programs, and outdoor education and safety.  This year, through the reauthorization process for Wallop-Breaux, Senator Breaux continues to shepherd fishing and boating interests by supporting legislative measures that would recover $110 million per year in the Wallop-Breaux excise tax investments that should be going to fishing and boating. Because of his extensive knowledge and commitment to fisheries issues, Senator Breaux has taken a lead role in virtually every major Congressional fisheries policy over the last two decades, including the Striped Bass Conservation Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act.  Tom Bedell has a long track record of leadership in long-term initiatives that benefit the whole sportfishing industry and the future of fishing. In addition to running one of the largest fishing tackle companies in the world, Bedell has been extremely active and valuable in the affairs of the American Sportfishing Association over the years. He chaired the Freshwater Government Affairs Committee and invested Pure Fishing's expertise and staff to provide extensive support for the association's fishing education and conservation programs.  Bedell also was a founding and longstanding member of the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, a group of diverse fishing and boating interests who work together to advise the Secretary of the Interior. Over the last decade, this group has greatly raised the profile of fishing issues with government agencies and Congressional decision-makers, guiding important policy decisions that affect everyone involved with these outdoor pastimes. As a strong advocate on the council, Bedell helped lead the creation of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in 1998. The foundation was charged with marshaling the industry, states, and partners in carrying out an unprecedented mass marketing campaign to encourage more people to go fishing and boating. Bedell was at the helm of this effort as Chairman of the Board, leading the launch of what is now the Water Works Wonders Campaign.  The American Sportfishing Association is the sportfishing industry's trade association, uniting more than 600 members of the sportfishing and boating industries with state fish and wildlife agencies, federal land and water management agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups, and outdoor journalists. The American Sportfishing Association safeguards and promotes the enduring social, economic, and conservation values of sportfishing.