May 9 2013

House Natural Resources Chairman Hastings Discusses Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization at Fisheries Conference

Saving Seafood

Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA -04) spoke at the third Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries Conference coordinated by the Regional Fishery Management Councils and hosted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. During his remarks, Chairman Hastings discussed the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, and the need to update the Endangered Species Act.

The following are highlights from his speech:

Balance and Flexibility

“Managing fish – and fishermen – is a challenge.  It requires balancing act in a number of areas: between a sustainable harvest level and the maximum economic value for the fisheries; between recreational and commercial users of the same resource; between different gear types in the same fisheries; and between the interests of different states.  In addition, not only are the fisheries different, but the challenges are different in each region of the country.  Because of these differences, a one-size-fits-all management structure is not the most efficient structure.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the framework for sustainable fisheries management that allows for regional solutions to address regional challenges.  The Act works, it is absolutely necessary to maintain this authority that allows regions to find unique solutions to their problems.  Because of this framework the United States has arguably the best managed fisheries in the world.”

Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization

“It is Congress’ responsibility to re-examine and reauthorize the laws that we create and the current authorization for the Magnuson-Stevens Act expires at the end of Fiscal Year 2013. The time for Congress to work on this reauthorization is now.

As Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee – the House Committee with jurisdiction over the Magnuson- Stevens Act – I have already begun the reauthorization process with several hearings in the last Congress and, in March, the first of several hearings we will hold this year. It is my goal is to try and reauthorize this important statute this Congress… We are in the process of scheduling our next hearing on the reauthorization and it will be formally announced soon.  It will be on data collection issues and it will be held on May 21st, but there are other issues that need to be addressed at further future hearings.”

Read full speech here.

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