MSA Reauth: Changes Proposed for U.S. Fisheries Management: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This past Tuesday, the draft bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act was released by the U.S. House.  The Magnuson-Stevens Act is a big deal because this is the law that lays out how fisheries management works in the United States.  This time, a number of changes have been proposed by Representative Doc Hastings, some of which could fundamentally change fisheries management and fisheries science in U.S. waters.  The proposed changes immediately became controversial, garnering overwhelming support from witnesses to the House Natural Resources Committee hearing of the bill (witnesses included representatives from the recreational and commercial fishing industries as well as the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council) while Pew Environment strongly opposed the bill, calling it the “Empty Oceans Act” (translated into GIFs by Upwell for your viewing pleasure). Read [email protected]  22:01

2 Responses to MSA Reauth: Changes Proposed for U.S. Fisheries Management: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. Your comments are a welcome change, being that you are from the scientific community. At least you recognize that in it’s current state the law is flawed. However I must take exception to you implying that fishermen cannot manage themselves and that all they care about is short term gain over long term health of a fishery. Perhaps 10 or 20 years ago this argument could have been made. However thoughts and perceptions have changed over the years. All fishermen are looking for is change that will allow flexibility in the law that will make for a more fair and equitable management process. This current as it stands now has been hijacked by many within the ENGO crowd and we have management by lawsuit written by lawyer with no regard to the overall law itself. The government who seems these days to be run by many of these same ENGO people seems to pick and choose which parts of the law they want to enforce. Safeguards were written into the law to prevent this sort of thing from happening yet the government seems to convieniently disregard these portions of the law.

    National standards 8,9 and 10 are first to come to mind, which state,

    8) consider the needs of fishing communities, encourage community participation, and “minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities”; (9) “to the extent practicable,” minimize by catch and the mortality of unavoidable by catch; and (10) “to the extent practicable . . . promote the safety of human life at sea.

    In the case of by catch, I can tell you that many provisions of the law have created more by catch. The overwhelming problem with by catch today is regulatory by catch, which forces fishermen to discard perfectly good sellable product therefore taking away profitability. When fuel is $4.00 per gallon this loss of profitability needs to be made up for with more of the species that you can keep, therefore perpetuating and creating even more by catch. If an allowance of some sort was given to fishermen in this regard to retain a portion of this regulatory discard it would allow them to return to profitability and let them vacate the grounds sooner and put an end to the senseless waste of our precious resource. ALL FISHERMEN DESPISE this senseless practice.


    I tell you Joel every word makes perfect sense. The Rules are being ignored. Yet the largest and most intelligent practice stands blindly blocking the way “COMMON SENSE!!!”.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.