Congress needs to reform fishery management law

I’m hopeful that the elections this week will result in a Congress that will address needed Magnuson-Stevens Act reforms.

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 MSA.

For example in the South Atlantic region, since reauthorization of the MSA in 2007, 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.

The CFSF supports Rep. Doc Hastings’ (R-WA) MSA reform legislation, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,”, passed in a bipartisan vote by the House Natural Resources Committee in May, which would provide regional fishery management councils with a more practical timeframe for ending overfishing and needed flexibility in establishing fishery rebuilding plans, and would also require referendum approval of any proposed “catch share” programs in the South Atlantic region by a majority of the affected fishery permit holders.

A congressionally requested report from the National Research Council released in 2013 said that more flexibility in the length of fishery rebuilding plans is needed.

The CFSF will continue pushing for MSA reforms in the new Congress. We ask that you join us in this important push by letting your Congressional representatives know that you support Rep. Hasting’s bill, H.R. 4742.

Click here to find and contact your representatives.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Tom Swatzel
Executive Director

P.S. The CFSF is a non-profit fishing advocacy group that relies on membership dues and contributions to operate. If you are not already a member, please join today at the highest level you can afford by clicking here. Thank you!

Contributions or gifts to the Council for Sustainable Fishing are not tax deductible as charitable contributions. However, they may be tax deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses.

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