“One of the key messages the Committee has heard is that while the 2006/2007 amendments to the Act were good, those requirements have been hard to achieve in some regions without significant economic pain and that some level of flexibility is necessary.”
That’s an assessment of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by Chariman Doc Hastings of Washington State, as the House Natural Resources Committee considers its reauthorization and improvement via H.R. 4742, also known as the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.
Advocates for both recreational and commercial fishing have been critical of the legislation intended to better conserve and management saltwater fisheries. They acknowledge its good intent, but argue that it has unnecessarily limited participation and harvest
“This debate today isn’t just about the use of a natural resource – it is about providing a sustainable source of protein as well as providing economic vitality to coastal communities,” he continued.
“In some regions of the country, fishing communities are struggling. A report from NOAA stated that groundfish revenues 'fell in 2012 in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island with Massachusetts and New Hampshire seeing a four-year low in groundfish revenues.'
“In New Bedford alone, the value of groundfish landed dropped from $31 million in 2011 to $19 million in 2013. The report went on to state that the number of active vessels dropped from 916 vessels in 2009 to 764 vessels in 2012 and of the 764 active vessels only 401 took a groundfish trip in 2012.
“And in the Gulf of Mexico, the recreational harvest of red snapper in Federal waters is down to just 9 days despite encouraging reports on the health of the resource.”
Go here to learn more.