Issues

Now, more than ever, commercial and recreational fishermen, seafood dealers and wholesalers, restaurants, and others that rely on fishing, are being economically hurt by federal fishery management policy and regulations driven by the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA).

For example in the South Atlantic region, since reauthorization of the MSA, snapper-grouper fishing effort from all fishing sectors combined has declined by nearly 40 percent and landings are down nearly 35 percent from peaks in 2007 and 2008.

The fishing industry has been impacted by an unprecedented growth in job killing regulations affecting the region’s coastal economy.

In just three years, from 2009 to 2012, a combined total of 16 fishery management plan and regulatory amendments and interim rules affecting the snapper-grouper fishery were approved.

In comparison, during the first 25 years of the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Management Plan, from 1983 to 2008, a combined total of 20 plan and regulatory amendments and interim rules were approved.

To protect jobs, the coastal economy, and the availability of fresh domestic seafood to consumers, the Council for Sustainable Fishing supports the following:

  • More frequent stock assessments for species in rebuilding plans.  Until a stock’s status is known, particularly for species in a rebuilding plan, Annual Catch Limits cannot be increased, impacting fishermen.
  • Stock assessments for major unassessed species. Currently of the 528 stocks under federal management, only 121 have updated stock assessment data. The establishment of Annual Catch Limits on unassessed stocks using historical landings, not science, is not fair to fishermen and needs to end.
  • More accurate and timely fishery management data. Streamlined and timely electronic reporting is needed for the commercial and for-hire sectors. The accuracy and timeliness of the recreational landings estimates from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) need to be vastly improved.  

The Council opposes unnecessary and overly burdensome fishery regulations and managements schemes. Here are some examples:

  • Vessel Monitoring Systems. VMS is financially burdensome and overly intrusive to fishermen, and according to researchers, would not produce useful data, particularly in the snapper-grouper fishery. 

Stand with the Council for Sustainable Fishing on these issues. Join today!

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Council for Sustainable Fishing