Washington, D.C. – After the Senate Commerce Committee voted this morning to send S. 3099, the “Access to Sportfishing Act of 2016” to the full Senate for a vote, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) remarked on the legislation and how it would help Biscayne National Park in South Florida. Rubio made his comments during a Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee meeting to consider various bills.
S. 3099 was introduced last week by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) with Rubio co-sponsoring it, and would nullify the proposed closure within Biscayne National Park. The bill stipulates that any closure must first require a fishery management plan to be developed, using the best available science, in formal consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and be based on fishery conservation and management.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Meeting
June 29, 2016
Senator Marco Rubio: “I wanted to briefly remark on the bill we reported from the Committee, the ‘Access to Sportsfishing Act of 2016.’ This is also a bipartisan product which I’m pleased to have worked with the leadership of our senior Senator from Florida and our Ranking Member, Senator Nelson. It’s a testament not just to the strong relationship that we have, but especially when it comes to our home state on issues of this magnitude.
“The waters of Biscayne National Park attract visitors from all over the world. I’m often a visitor myself on my so called ‘luxury speedboat’ (crowd laughs).
“Fishing and diving and general enjoyment of the park allow Floridians such as myself and others, and tourists, to enjoy the beautiful aquamarine waters of the largest marine park in the national park system.
“The bill that we had before us today is going to provide a model to address a proposed closure of more than 10,000 acres within that park. As you can imagine, this has garnered strong emotions from stakeholders, not to mention the people at the bait shop I’m running into on those occasions where I get to go out.
“I believe that, again, with Senator Nelson’s leadership on this we’ve been able to strike a compromise that will address many of the concerns of the stakeholders on both sides of the equation.
“Under the bill, a fishery management plan must be developed using the best science available and in formal consultation with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which plays a key role in the park’s enforcement.
“While this bill focuses solely on Biscayne National Park, there are other areas in my home state and across the country that could benefit from this type of collaboration and management, so hopefully it will serve as a model for that.
“I want to thank the Chairman, I want to thank the Ranking Member, for considering this important bill and I look forward to continuing to do this work with Senator Nelson and with others on this committee.”