Modern Fish Act Passes House Vote

 

Modern Fish Act Passes House Vote

By Ted Lund

 

Saltwater anglers in the United States may be seeing sweeping reform with regards to how marine fisheries are managed, thanks to the “Modern Fish Act” passing a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 200, a bill that includes the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 — aka the Modern Fish Act. The new legislation seeks to fundamentally alter recreational fishing regulations and allow states more say in managing their marine fisheries. Although the bill has enjoyed bipartisan support, some commercial and conservation organizations oppose the bill. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Feb. 28, 2018, vote to approve its version of the Modern Fish Act.

More than 11 million Americans participate in recreational saltwater fishing contributing some $70 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Since 1976, the saltwater fishing community – both commercial and recreational – has been regulated by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

In 2014, however, the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management identified and presented to Congress a report outlining recreational and boating priorities. Those recommendations, in large part, found their way into the Modern Fish Act, first proposed by lawmakers last year.

Recreational and boating manufacturers and trade organizations have shown widespread support for the Modern Fish Act. A letter featuring the signatures of 135 marine-industry executives from across the nation was sent in support of the Modern Fish Act to members of the U.S. House. Proponents herald that the act will provide recreational anglers reasonable access to public resources while ensuring sustainable fisheries for the future.

Opponents of the bill argue that it lacks the certainty imposed by the current regulations, and creates too many unclear exceptions to mandatory timelines to rebuild overfished stocks. These mandatory timelines exist in the current law under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Further uncertainties are highlighted by the bill’s detractors, such as whether states have the ability to effectively manage fish that inhabit and travel across state lines and whether recreational data will be reliable for conservation decisions going forward.

 

For more information on the Modern Fish Act or to follow its progress, visit asa.org.

 

 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

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