This Saturday morning, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold an oversight field hearing in Panama City, FL entitled, “Fishing=Jobs: How Strengthening America’s Fisheries Strengthens Our Economy.” Spearheaded through the efforts of Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), both of whom will be attending this important House field hearing, the event starts at 10 a.m. at the Lecture Hall at the Holley Academic Center at Florida State University in the heart of Florida’s 2nd Congressional in Panama City.

“Florida’s recreational fishing community is being well-represented at this oversight hearing in Panama City, it should be a great opportunity for Committee members to hear directly from our Gulf anglers,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). “RFA is grateful to Chairman Hastings and Committee member Southerland for bringing Congress to Panama City this summer, a congressional district that has been adversely affected by our federal fisheries law reauthorization in 2006.”

Members of the fishing community invited to testify as witnesses at this special field hearing include Capt. Tom Adams of Mexico Beach Charters and chairman of the RFA’s Forgotten Coast Chapter (RFA-FC), along with RFA national board member Capt. Bob Zales, II, president of the National Association of Charter Boat Operators. RFA member Pam Anderson of Anderson Marina is also expected to testify on behalf of recreational anglers from the 2nd Congressional district.

Earlier this month, Rep. Southerland announced he was cosponsoring legislation called the Transparent and Science-Based Fishery Management Act of 2012 (HR 6350) which would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act to address inequities in annual catch limits, catch shares in the Gulf of Mexico, additional rebuilding flexibility, NOAA enforcement, and disaster assistance, among other issues.

“I have heard from anglers from across North and Northwest Florida who have asked me to act as their voice in Washington,” Southerland said. “I am pleased to be part of this important effort to make federal fisheries policy more responsive to the needs of our recreational and commercial fishermen.”

Recreational fishermen and coastal business are encouraged to attend, as the health of the Gulf of Mexico and its fishery resources affect the entire economy of Florida; a U.S. Census Bureau report found that 2.8 million residents and non-resident anglers contributed $4.3 billion to Florida’s economy in fishing-related expenditures in 2006. While the hearing is open to the public, only those invited witnesses will be able to address the Committee.

The House Natural Resources Committee oversight field hearing on “Fishing=Jobs: How Strengthening America’s Fisheries Strengthens Our Economy” will be broadcast live via the web at  The Lecture Hall at the Holley Academic Center is located at Florida State University, 4750 Collegiate Drive in Panama City, FL.

Logo courtesy RFA

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