Urge Congress to protect our nation’s fish populations!
Late last year, a key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for legislation that would put the health of our fisheries in jeopardy. These bills, H.R. 200 and H.R. 3588, would seriously weaken the nation’s primary ocean fisheries management law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The two bills are on track to be voted on by the full House this spring.
Ask your representative to safeguard our fisheries and support the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
One of the cornerstone objectives of current U.S. fisheries policy is to prevent overfishing by relying on the best available science to make sound management decisions. The primary tools for achieving this are science-based annual catch limits developed by regional fishery managers. By using these tools, overfishing has dropped to historic lows, allowing fishermen greater stability and the ocean ecosystem more protection.
However, H.R. 200 would exempt many fish stocks from catch limits, leading to an increased risk of overfishing. In addition, it would add broad loopholes in the requirement to rebuild overfished populations as soon as possible. H.R. 200 would also undermine the protections of key conservation laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Lastly, H.R. 3588 would exempt management of recreational red snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico from the conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and would transfer management responsibility to an untested, state-based approach.
In the 40-plus years since the Magnuson-Stevens Act became law, 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 damage to essential fish habitat, changing ocean conditions, and increased offshore activities, such as coastal dredging and drilling.
H.R. 200 and H.R. 3588 represent shortsighted approaches that would take us back several decades to the days when overfishing and depleted fish populations were chronic problems. Help ensure that fishermen, coastal communities, oceans, and future generations benefit from stable, abundant fish populations. Please urge your representative to vote no on H.R. 200 and H.R. 3588!