Anti-fishing groups are experts at using labels and implication to drive their agendas. Mistaken assumptions by the public because of that tactic are just fine with them as long as they further the cause.
For example, they talk about “overfishing” with no regard for the vast difference between recreational and commercial tactics and harvest. As a consequence, by implication, one is the same as the other.
Also, they cite statistics without putting them into context. For example, if two dead loons have been found at Lake X during the past decade and one of them was revealed to have died of lead poisoning, they will say “Half of loon mortality at Lake X is attributable to lead fishing tackle.”
That is true, of course, but misleading in its importance. Almost certainly the loon population during that decade was harmed much more by habitat loss and predation.
When the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act was passed, its authors--- intentionally or otherwise--- did much the same thing. The act defined any stock of fish that is not at a high enough level to produce the maximum sustainable yield as being “overfished.” Yes, some stocks are overfished. But depletion could be attributable to other factors, including disease and weather.
Because of that wording, though, the act has been used to penalize both recreational and commercial fishing.
A blog at FISHupdate.com explains it this way:
“This law is without question the most important piece of legislation that deals with U.S. domestic fisheries management. Thus, equating ‘not enough fish’ with ‘overfished’ contributes to a blame-it-all-on-fishing mindset and a gift to the anti-fishing activists.”
A proposed amendment would change “overfished” to “depleted” throughout the act.
That amendment is contained in draft Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.
“The draft legislation aims to alleviate a number of concerns that recreational and commercial fishermen and the businesses that depend on them have had, since the original intent of the Magnuson Act has been severely distorted by a number of agenda-driven organizations,” said FISHupdate, which cited a previous blog about this at Fishosophy.