May 18 2015

Fishermen, Businesses, and Fishing Organizations Support House Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Bill

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WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) – May 18, 2015

On Saturday, May 16, a diverse group of 20 businesses, 51 organizations, and 80 individuals representing fishermen and fishing communities from the East, West, and Gulf Coasts jointly signed a letter delivered to Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, supporting HR 1335, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” which would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The supporters of the reauthorization, which was authored by Alaska Congressman Don Young (R-AK), state that it will maintain the successful aspects of fisheries management under Magnuson-Stevens, while providing much-needed flexibility and economic relief to hard-working fishing communities.

According to the signatories of the letter, HR 1335 will “continue the rebuilding of depleted fish stocks, provide transparency, streamline the management process, and ensure that more scientific information is available to deal with data-poor fish stocks.” This, the signatories contend, will strike the appropriate “balance” between addressing the ecological needs of fish stocks, the conservation goals of management, and the economic needs of fishing communities that are not being met by the current Act’s rigid stock rebuilding requirements.

The signatories of the letter are geographically diverse, representing the following states: Arizona, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. They represent many of the major fisheries and fishing regions of the United States, and while on the surface these groups may seem to have little in common, they are united in their desire to see reasonable reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and additional flexibility brought to the management process.

In addition to supporting greater flexibility in federal fisheries management, the letter also opposes attempts to transfer the management of the commercial red snapper fishery from the federal to the state level. This proposed change, supported largely by recreational fishing interests, would, according to the signatories of the letter, undermine the “process in place under existing law to deal with the complex issues surrounding this fishery.”

HR 1335 was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on April 30, and will be considered by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday, May 19 at 3:00 PM. The full House is expected to vote on the bill sometime in the near future.

View the letter to Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop here —PDF (check your downloads).

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