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Entries in Fishery Science Improvement Act (6)


More Fishery Closures Coming in 2012 if Congress Doesn't Act

Marine anglers should get ready for even tougher times in 2012, courtesy of closures imposed by the federal government. And freshwater anglers should be concerned as well. The same anti-fishing agenda is going to move inland as well, unless we stop it.

Passage of the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA) by Congress before the end of 2011 could minimize the closures in our oceans. But, sad to say, don’t count on Congress during these times of political chaos in Washington, D.C.

“While other legislative amendments to MSA (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) have been offered to address a variety of federal fishing issues, we need Congress to understand that there is an immediate need to address the specific problem that FSIA solves,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

“Unless Congress passes this legislation before the end of this year, come January 1, 2012, anglers and commercial fishermen alike will be facing hard new annual catch limits on numerous stocks of fish that are based on nothing more than guesswork.”

Learn more about the FSIA here.

Meanwhile backlash continues against Recreational Fishing Alliance (see previous posts) for criticizing the proposed legislation.

John Mazurkiewicz, public relations counsel for Shimano and a member of ASA and many other angling groups says:

“It's not hard to see that following the lead of the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation, ASA, The Billfish Foundation, IGFA, NMMA, Coastal Conservation Association and the Center of Coastal Conservation is the right way to go.

“I applaud the efforts of those involved with these organizations --- a large number of smart people who understand all these issues and know what's best for the sportfishing industry.”

And Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano, issues this warning:

“The campaign against fishing is spreading inland to fresh water and being advanced by the same bogus rationale that the only way to ‘protect’ fish and fish habitat is to ban recreational fishing regardless of what hard science and decades of fishery management success clearly shows to the contrary.

“The recreational fishing community has been slow to recognize that we are in a North America-wide battle for the very future of our sport that will determine whether our kids and grandchildren can continue to go fishing.

“Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, International Game Fish Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and The Billfish Foundation deserve the support and sincere thanks of everyone who cares about the future of fishing.  They are all dedicated, competent and the best professional representation we have in the halls of power where many of these issues will be decided. 

“As for the very few who take gratuitous cheap shots at the efforts of these fine organizations, they rightfully deserve our contempt.”


Internal Bickering Weakens Fight to Protect Recreational Fisheries

Yesterday I posted the Recreational Fishing Alliance’s (RFA) criticism of the Fishery Science Improvement Act, intended to stop unnecessary closures of our marine fisheries.

In rebuttal, Jeff Angers of the Center for Coastal Conservation (CCC) says this:

“It is easy to see why federal fisheries management is in the shape it is in.

“On one side of the debate is a completely obstinate environmental community that refuses to budge even an inch to address a train wreck in federal fisheries brought on by some provisions of the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act. On the other extreme is a recreational group (RFA) involved in a coalition of charter and commercial fishing entities that takes a wildly different view from the environmental community.

"In between and catching flak from both sides is a coalition of responsible fishing and boating groups working to find a way to address problems in federal fisheries management that doesn’t leave anglers at the dock, while remaining committed to conservation of our marine resources.”(Read the rest of his opinion piece here.)

And here’s my take: When I first started writing about saltwater access issues, I was shocked and dismayed to learn a split exists between the RFA faction on one side and the CCC and its allies on the other. In fact, the idea that those defending recreational fishing could be antagonists instead of allies just wouldn’t register in my mind at first.

A couple of years later, I still have a problem with that notion. I just don’t get it.

But, sadly, I accept that it exists. As someone who has been called both “a member of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and “a hack for Bush,” I have come to realize that not everyone agrees --- even when they should. While my motivation always has been and always will be protection of our fisheries resources and our rights to access them, I have antagonized those on both sides, who care more about ideologies than they do about problem-solving.

The bottom line is that we’re going to lose more and more access to our ocean fisheries and, eventually, our inland fisheries as well, if we don’t work together to oppose the preservationists and their big-government allies who want to control every aspect of our lives.


RFA Critical of Fishery Science Improvement Act

The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) asserts that the Fishery Science Improvement Act HR2309 and S1916 does nothing to “fix the science” in an attempt to prevent fishing closures.

 "Because it has science in its title and is being promoted by lobbyists at the boating and fishing trade groups, many industry members and sportswriters believe it can actually help anglers," said Jim Hutchinson, RFA’s managing director.

"Sadly, fishermen on the water who would be directly impacted by the legislation who've actually read the bill seem to agree that it doesn't do anything to improve science nor will it have much positive impact on their ability to keep on fishing."

Hutchinson said a more comprehensive House bill sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2011, would be better. Read more here


Act Now in Support of Legislation to Stop Fishing Closures


In June, KeepAmericaFishing™ asked anglers to support the Fishery Science Improvement Act, legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that will stop federal officials from arbitrarily setting restrictive catch limits on many important marine sportfish. Now that a companion bill has been introduced in the Senate, we need your help again to ensure passage of this important legislation before it’s too late and unnecessary catch restrictions are put into place!


Send a message to your members of Congress today, asking them to support this common-sense legislation that will help ensure a future for our marine resources and a future for recreational angling.

 As amended in 2006, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires Regional Fishery Management Councils and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) to put in place annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for every fishery by December 31, 2011. The requirements were predicated on two critical assumptions:

  • NOAA Fisheries would make decisions based on up-to-date and accurate stock assessments.
  • NOAA Fisheries would improve catch data to better anticipate potential problems in a given fishery.

Neither of these obligations has been met and the results will be overly restrictive regulations and closures for recreational fishing.

Guesswork has no place in the management of America’s natural resources, and poorly-planned ACLs will have significant negative impacts on anglers and the businesses and communities dependent on our nation’s fisheries.

The Fisheries Science Improvement Act, H.R. 2304 in the House and S. 1916 in the Senate, seeks to ensure that the NOAA Fisheries sets catch limits based on scientific data, not on guesswork, as is currently happening for many recreationally important species such as wahoo, cobia and mahi mahi.

For more information, view the FSIA Fact Sheet.

Click here to send a message to your members of Congress in support of the Fishery Science Improvement Act and help ensure a better future for our marine fisheries resources and a future for recreational angling.


Support Fishery Science Improvement Act

A reminder: Be sure to ask your representatives and senators in Congress to support the Fishery Science Improvement Act. The bipartisan bill is intended to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses sound science to set catch limits.

As it promotes its “catch and trade” Catch Shares scheme and closes Atlantic and Gulf fisheries, NOAA has shown that it more intent on implementing a preservationist ideology than properly managing recreational and commercial fisheries.

"The sportfishing community is facing an unacceptable situation in which arbitrary deadlines are being allowed to trump the essential need for science-based management of our marine resources," said Congressional Sportsman's Foundation President Jeff Crane.

Here’s a fact sheet about the bill from the American Sportfishing Association.