Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration
Northeast Region

Sport Fish Restoration Program Overview

  • 1950: Dingell-Johnson Act
    • Excise taxes on fishing tackle
  • 1984: Wallop-Breaux Amendment
    • Addition of motorboat fuel tax
  • 1998: Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act


Funding Cycle

Anglers and boaters purchase tackle and fuel; excise taxes are collected from the manufacturers. The cost of the tax is built into the selling price to the customer. The excise tax funds accumulate in the Aquatic Resource Trust Fund and are distributed yearly to state fish and wildlife agencies, with certain percentages and amounts earmarked for different programs, such as Coastal Wetlands, Clean Vessel Program, and state boating access areas.

Sport Fish Restoration Program Funding Cycle

Fund Distribution

Sport Fish Restoration Program Funding Distribution

State Sport Fish Restoration Apportionment

The amount of sport fish restoration funds that a state receives is determined by the state land and water area (including coastal and Great Lakes waters) and the number of paid fishing license holders. No state may receive more than 5% of the total, and no state may receive less than 1%.

States are required to match the sport fish restoration funds with at least a 25% share of state money. These matching funds come from fishing license sales or an in-kind contribution.

Types of Sport Fish Restoration Projects

  • Research and management of freshwater and marine fisheries
  • Construction, operations, and maintenance of fish hatcheries
  • Creation and maintenance of boating access areas
  • Fish habitat improvement – such as stream restoration programs or construction of artificial reefs
  • Up to 15% can be spent on aquatic education and outreach and communications projects

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Last updated: March 21, 2013
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