On September 20, 2023, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a markup hearing of six bills, including the Supporting the Health of Aquatic systems through Research, Knowledge and Enhanced Dialogue (SHARKED) Act (H.R. 4051). The committee approved the SHARKED Act by unanimous consent, putting the bill, heavily supported by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), one step closer to becoming law.
The SHARKED Act brings attention to the growing problem of shark depredation, which is the act of a shark eating or damaging a hooked fish before it can be reeled in. The bill establishes a task force comprised of fisheries managers and shark experts responsible for improving coordination and communication on shark depredation across the fisheries management community. The task force will identify research priorities and funding opportunities to limit depredation throughout the country.
“Our thanks to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and other members of the committee for their approval of the SHARKED Act,” said ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard. “As anglers throughout much of the United States are increasingly encountering sharks and losing fish in the process, the SHARKED Act is a critical step toward identifying meaningful and responsible steps to mitigate this complex challenge.”
Leonard also thanked the bill’s original cosponsors, U.S. Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Garret Graves (R-LA) and Marc Veasey (D-TX).
In October 2022, ASA released a position statement addressing shark interactions, outlining four pillars to address the issue in both the long and short term. More information on the SHARKED Act and ASA’s advocacy work on shark depredation can be found in the organization’s online toolkit. ASA also encourage anglers to use our Keep America Fishing Action Alert portal to send a message directly to their members of Congress in support of the SHARKED Act.