Sport Fish Restoration FAQs

How did Sport Fish Restoration get started?

The Sport Fish Restoration Program was created in 1950, when Congress enacted the Sport Fish Restoration Act. U.S. Representative John Dingell, Sr., of Michigan and Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, sponsored the act. The law, known as the "Dingell-Johnson Act," applied a 10-percent manufacturer's excise tax on fishing rods, creels, lures, and flies. Tax revenues are transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which in turn distributes them to the states for recreational sport fishing projects. States receive a proportional share based on the amount of land and water area in the state (40%) and the number of paid recreational fishing license holders (60%).

In 1984, Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming and Representative John Breaux of Louisiana sponsored the Wallop-Breaux Amendment to the SFR Act, extending the tax to tackle boxes, sonar fish finders, motorboat fuels, electric motors, and other equipment not included in earlier laws. The Wallop-Breaux Amendment requires spending 15 percent of all restoration money on boating access to public waters and requires Florida and other coastal states to fund marine recreational fisheries projects proportionate to the ratio of resident freshwater to saltwater anglers.

How do I contribute?

The Florida angler has two ways to contribute to the protection of Florida's aquatic resources: directly, through the purchase of recreational fishing licenses, and indirectly, by purchasing fishing supplies and equipment covered in the Sport Fish Restoration program. Thanks to you and your tax dollars, recreational sport fishing will endure.

How much money does Florida receive from the Sport Fish Restoration Act annually?

The amendment enlarged the fund from $40 million annually in 1950 to $351.8 million in fiscal year 1993. In 2011, Florida received just under $12 million (see Apportionments External Website)

What is Sport Fish Restoration?

Sport Fish Restoration is a federal program that is funded through an excise tax on fishing goods such as rods, lures, and tackle boxes. The tax revenues collected are distributed to each of the states and used on restoration projects such as fish stocking and improvements on boating access. It is often recognized as the best example of user-pays, user-benefits funding in the nation.

Which marine projects in the state of Florida are funded by Sport Fish Restoration?

Numerous Florida projects have been funded by your contribution:

  • Development and maintenance of artificial reefs along Florida's coastline.
  • Long-term monitoring of juvenile finfish to assess sport fish stocks, determine trends in relative abundance, and provide early warning signs of problems or impacts of recent management decisions.
  • Research on the abundance, distribution, and life history of tarpon and bonefish in Florida.
  • Investigation and control of disease parasites affecting hatchery-raised fish such as red drum.
  • Development of regional guides for Florida's boaters and fishermen.
    View Boater's Guides

Which freshwater projects in the state of Florida are funded by Sport Fish Restoration?

  • The Florida Bass Conservation Center is supported by Federal Aid and helps produce nearly 4 million fish for public stocking annually.
  • Each of the five Regional Fisheries Management projects is funded by Federal Aid and coordinates aquatic habitat management, fish stocking, boating and shore fishing access projects, coordination with local water management districts, fish attractor planning, regulation management and fisheries research in their area. With 7,700 freshwater lakes (3 million acres of freshwater) and 12,000 miles of rivers and streams this is an immense task that could not be accomplished without the assistance of Sportfish Restoration Funding.
  • Commission-Managed Impoundments in the northwest region and Tenoroc Fish Management Area are intensely managed fisheries supported by Federal Aid.
  • Aquatic Education programs including "Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs," Joe Budd Aquatic Education Center and Freshwater Fish Camps rely on Sportfish Restoration dollars.

Which boating projects in the state of Florida are funded by Sport Fish Restoration?

Where can I find more information about Sport Fish Restoration?

Visit the Sport Fish Restoration Section for more information.

FWC Facts:
Nearly one-fourth of all marine animals, including about 7,000 species of fish, depend upon coral reefs for some part of their life cycle.

Learn More at AskFWC