Urge your senator to protect our nation’s bedrock fishery management laws!
This month, the Senate commerce committee is expected to vote on legislation that could significantly change the U.S. fishery management system. It is essential that Congress maintain the core principles that have made the U.S. a global leader in fisheries management.
Ask your senator who serves on the committee to safeguard our fisheries and support the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
U.S. fisheries policy, as outlined by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, prevents overfishing by relying on the best available science to make sound management decisions. Regional fishery managers set science-based annual catch limits. Thanks to these limits, overfishing has dropped to historic lows, allowing fishermen greater stability and the ocean ecosystem more protection. For populations that are already overfished, current law also ensures that managers develop plans that let fish stocks rebound to healthier levels.
Right now, exactly what legislation will be considered by the Senate is uncertain. But any bill that addresses U.S. fisheries management must maintain strong, science-based annual catch limits for commercial and recreational fishermen alike, reducing the likelihood of overfishing. In addition, any bill that is considered must not weaken the requirement to rebuild overfished populations as soon as possible along concrete timelines. This aspect of the law has resulted in more than 40 fish stocks being rebuilt since 2000. The requirement to develop appropriate and effective timelines for rebuilding fish stocks is necessary to continued success.
In the 40-plus years since the Magnuson-Stevens Act was enacted, the challenges facing our fisheries have changed. Rather than weakening fisheries management, Congress should update the law to give managers greater ability to address these challenges, including proper management of forage fish, damage to essential fish habitat, changing ocean conditions, and increased offshore activities such as coastal dredging and drilling.
Help ensure that fishermen, coastal communities, oceans, and future generations benefit from stable, abundant fish populations. Please urge your senator to support science-based fisheries management!