U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

Sport Fish Restoration Program - History

The Sport Fish Restoration Program was authorized by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (SFR), commonly referred to as the Dingell-Johnson (DJ) Act, passed on August 9, 1950.

The original Act provided for revenues from manufacturers’ excise taxes on sport fishing equipment to be deposited or transferred into a trust fund and apportioned to states, the District of Columbia and insular areas on a formula basis. The apportionments were then made available to the agencies with authority over fish and wildlife.

States and insular areas were required by the Act to have assent legislation which ensured revenue from license fees were used for the administration of the fish and wildlife agency.

The apportionment formula and assent legislation remain in the current SFR Act. However, as Congress amends the SFR Act and/or enacts other federal legislation, changes are made to the SFR Program.

Throughout the years changes have been made to the items taxable, tax rates, eligible projects, authorizations, distribution to SFR Program and other programs funded through the SFR Act.

See the Sport Fish Restoration Act Amendments for current distributions and a complete history on each amendment and how it impacted the Sport Fish Restoration Program as well as other programs funded through the Act.

The program regulation, 50 CFR 80, was revised 8/25/2008 to clarify procedures governing the annual certification of the number of paid hunting and fishing licensees, provisions for records retention, to update administrative requirements, and to delete references to forms no longer approved by the OMB.