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Entries in fishing closures (6)


Senate Bill Introduced to Prevent Closure of Sport Fisheries

A bill has been introduced into the U.S. Senate to uphold the authority of state fish and wildlife agencies and prevent unwarranted closures of fisheries, such as already occurred at North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Florida's Biscayne National Park.

“Given the significant economic, social, and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation, any decision to close or restrict public access should be based on sound science and strong management principles,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.

 “While closed areas have a role in fisheries management, they should only come after legitimate consideration of all possible options and agreement among management agencies.

"This bill, which is strongly supported by the recreational fishing industry, will ensure that the voice of state fisheries agencies is not lost in these decisions.”

Preserving Public Access to Public Waters Act, also known as S.2807, is similar to legislation already passed in the House as part of the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act. It requires the National Park Service (NPS) to have approval from state agencies before closing Great Lakes or state marine waters to recreational and/or commercial fishing.

“It’s only logical that any decision affecting fishing access in state waters should have the approval of that state’s fish and wildlife agency,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We applaud Sens. Cassidy (Bill of Louisiana) and Rubio (Marco of Florida) for introducing this common-sense legislation, and urge other members of the Senate to co-sponsor and help ensure this bill’s passage.”

In 2015, NPS implemented a 10,000-acre marine preserve in one of the nation's most popular urban fishing areas, despite protests by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The state agency said that it would be overly restrictive and not biologically effective, adding that less punitive management tools could rebuild the park's fisheries and conserve habitat.

NPS's decision to ignore Florida input and force new regulations in state waters revealed a loophole in current law that could affect any state with coastal or Great Lakes waters managed by the federal agency.


Help Stop Attempts to Ban Recreational Fishing Off New England Coast

Anti-fishing groups are asking the Obama Administration to ban recreational fishing off portions of New England, significantly impacting the recreational marine community in the Northeast and setting a precedent for future closures across the country’s coastal areas.

Despite zero evidence to suggest recreational fishing poses a threat to the habitat or fish populations in these areas, these groups are lobbying the government to include a ban on recreational fishing if, and when, it designates a large section of the Northern Atlantic as a new Marine National Monument.

You better believe if these groups get their way, they won’t stop. And with more than a year left in the White House, the Administration could soon be adding similar bans across more and more offshore waters. 

We can’t let that happen. We can’t let anti-fishing groups dictate the government’s agenda. We need to respond.


Fishing Groups Hopeful for Less Restrictive Management at Biscayne National Park

Last year, the National Park Service announced that its preferred alternative for managing Florida’s Biscayne National Park includes closing up to 20 percent of the park’s waters to fishing.

But now a coalition of national boating and fishing organizations is optimistic that a less restrictive outcome is possible, based on recent and ongoing discussions between the National Park Service (NPS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

  “As representatives of America’s leading recreational fishing and boating organizations, we are highly interested in the management of Biscayne National Park, one of the country's largest urban recreational fishing and boating areas. Biscayne National Park is a jewel in the national park system and helps support Florida’s $19 billion recreational fishing and boating economy and the associated 250,000 jobs,” the coalition said in a recent letter to NPS and FWC.

And it added this:

“We remind you that the marine reserve zones proposed in the draft GMP are inherently fisheries management tools, and should only be considered as a last resort and only after other, less restrictive options have failed.

“Other management options, such as more restrictive fishing regulations for certain species, species-specific spawning closures and a mechanism to pay for improved enforcement and education of park regulations could be equally or more effective than a marine reserve in rebuilding the park’s fisheries resources.

“We understand the desire of park managers to provide a different user experience for other activities, but we believe this can be accomplished without closing large areas of the park to fishing and boating.”

Here’s a September statement from the NPS and FWC about their discussions.

Coalition members include the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and National Marine Manufacturers Association.


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.