Tag Archives: magnuson-stevens-act

Forcing fishermen to pay for the privilege of being monitored

Imagine you live somewhere in small-town America where residents routinely exceed the posted speed limits. To address this problem, the town council votes to require a police officer to ride along with each member of the community every time they venture out in an automobile. You might think something like that could never happen. Yet that is precisely the position into which the Department of Commerce has placed the nation’s deep-sea fishermen. For more than 30 years, the Magnuson-Stevens Act has authorized the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to require commercial fishing boats to carry observers with them to monitor their adherence to federal fishing regulations. When NOAA ran out of the money it needed to keep this program going to the extent it deemed necessary in the U.S. Atlantic Coast herring fisheries, the agency decided without congressional authorization to shift the responsibility of paying for these third-party observers to the fishermen themselves. >click to read< 14:54

Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act – Partisan Politics Threaten to Sink Reform of Federal Fisheries Law

A divided Congress and the unexpected death of an Alaska congressman appear to have derailed federal legislation meant to improve oversight and management of U.S. fisheries, especially in the face of climate change. The House Natural Resources Committee passed a Democratic-sponsored bill last week to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for the first time since 2006. While it’s possible the bill will receive a vote on the House floor before the end of the year, its chances of being taken up in the Senate, much less receiving the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster, is unlikely — at least in this Congress. >click to read< 11:42

Fishermen fear Hudson Canyon sanctuary will mean more restrictions

The canyon is a prolific fishing ground that starts about 90 miles offshore from Manasquan Inlet and is in the crosshairs of a public debate over the sanctuary designation, which would give NOAA more leverage managing the resources of the largest submarine canyon off the Atlantic Coast. Commercial vessels fish for tunas, squid and lobster, while the state’s recreational fishing fleet of for-hire vessels continually run anglers out to the canyon to catch fresh tuna and tilefish. “We’re probably the greatest and strictest fishery management country in the world. Why do we need this extra layer on top of everything we have now?” said Jason Bahr, a seafood wholesaler and vice president of Blue Water Fisherman’s Association, a trade group of commercial longline fishermen who fish for pelagic species such as tuna and swordfish in the Hudson Canyon. >click to read< 07:50

New England’s founding fish, may be returning to local waters

Atlantic cod, once a mainstay of the region’s economy, is being fished at historically low levels, but a research scientist whose past findings opened up a tightly regulated scallop fishery says cod may be staging a comeback. Before he heads out to sea, commercial fisherman Raymond Lees stops by Reidar’s Trawl Gear & Marine Supply in New Bedford to buy custom-designed fishing nets. The shape of the net, the width of its mouth and the size of its holes all help him target certain species of fish and, perhaps more importantly, avoid others. “I’ve spent so long running away from codfish that I’ve gotten better at running away from codfish,” Lees said during a recent run to Reidar’s. “I have specialized gear and I’m good at what I do.” “We went from a huge fishing business, as far as the groundfishing fleet’s concerned, of 300 boats down to 20 boats,” Bendiksen said. “It’s pretty much a 90 percent loss of what the fleet was.” >click to read< 08:10

Mid-Water Herring Trawlers to Return to Inshore Waters – Court Overturns Exclusion Zone

Herring fishermen from New England and the Mid-Atlantic won a crucial decision last week when a federal judge in Boston ruled in their favor against an exclusion zone in Northeast U.S. waters. The court ruled that a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) measure excluding the mid-water trawl fleet from productive inshore fishing grounds violated the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s premier fisheries law. The lawsuit was brought by the Sustainable Fisheries Coalition (SFC), a trade group representing herring and mackerel fishing companies. >click to read< 08:16

Fishermen’s Alliance CEO proposes MSA changes to address climate change, wind farms

When John Pappalardo was invited to testify before Congress in mid-November, he spoke for hundreds of fishermen on the Cape, and thousands of fishermen across the country. Pappalardo, chief executive officer of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, used his time to suggest big changes to the Magnuson Stevens Act, the law that steers course for the nation’s fisheries and the health of the oceans they depend upon. The act, close to 50 years old, is being reauthorized after a delay of more than 10 years and Pappalardo was asked to be a witness by California Congressman Jared Huffman, the subcommittee chair, who has said he is committed to sustainable fishing communities. >click to read< 10:37

Huffman and Case Introduce Legislation to Reauthorize Magnuson-Stevens Act

Jared Huffman D-CA, and Ed Case D-HI introduce the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act. The following is a statement from Eric Schwaab, Senior Vice President, Ecosystems and Oceans, and a former administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service at NOAA under the Obama administration. “The Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act, introduced today by Reps. Huffman and Case, brings much-needed attention to key challenges facing modern fisheries management. We fully support the bill’s goal to strengthen the MSA by arming fisheries managers with tools that can better address some of the most significant problems facing the sustainable future of U.S. fisheries, including threats from climate change. >click to read< 18:28

Kenai Peninsula Borough to ask feds for fishery disaster declaration

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted Tuesday to ask the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to declare a sockeye salmon fisheries failure and economic disaster in the Upper Subdistrict of the Central District of Cook Inlet in response to a year that saw fewer and smaller fish, as well as lower-priced fish. >click to read< 07:55

Amid a big fight for cod in the Bering Sea, can remote Adak survive?

A heap of slimy fish heads nearly filled a deep tote. Above, workers finished sorting stacks of decapitated halibut they had run through a grim mechanical apparatus. “Right here we have a guillotine blade,” said Mike Lauer, showing off the de-heading device.  “We’ll sell the cheeks, and then we can use the heads for bait,” he added. Lauer is in charge of quality control for Golden Harvest, a processing plant on Adak that’s at the center of a fish war in the Bering Sea pitting two small Aleutian Island communities against large out of state fishing interests. And the implications of that fight could stretch to other coastal fishing towns in Alaska. >click to read< 21:08

U.S. Sen. Kennedy calls for permanent safety net for fishing industry

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, is calling for a permanent taxpayer-supported safety net for the fishing industry. The Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019, introduced by U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi, does not carry an explicit price tag. Kennedy’s statement in support of the bill compares the proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “well-established” disaster programs for farmers.,,, Under the proposed amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, potential federal relief would be available when revenue associated with commercial fishing or farm-raised fish production,,, >click to read<17:40

Reintroduced Shark Trade Bill Promotes Successful U.S. Conservation Policies at Policies at Global Level

The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2019 – A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House advances global shark conservation by ensuring that all shark and ray products imported into the United States meet the same high ethical and sustainability standards required of American fishermen. The bill has broad support from conservation groups, zoos, aquariums and the fishing industry. >click to read<13:14

Fishing Groups Lose Legal Battle Over Marine Monument

The national monument that former President Barack Obama established in the Atlantic Ocean survived a court challenge Friday. When Obama created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in 2016, he relied on a 1906 law passed in Roosevelt’s administration.,, A year later, the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association and four other groups filed suit to unravel the 5,000-square-mile designation,,, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg disagreed on Friday, dismissing their case.,, “I believe the public is being led astray in thinking the area in question is fragile and in need of more protection,” said Bonnie Brady, “It has always been protected while being commercially fished with federal sustainability and essential habitat regulations through the federal Magnuson Stevens Act and the regional fishery management councils.”>click to read<21:52

Senate MSA reauthorization a step back for fishing communities

In July, the House passed H.R. 200 the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” a much needed update of federal fisheries law that allows for both sustainable fisheries management and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities. Unfortunately, its counterpart bill making its way through the Senate would likely have the opposite effect. The Senate bill, S.1520, or the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018,” introduces changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA)—the main law governing U.S. fisheries—that would impose increasingly burdensome regulations on American fishermen and undermine H.R. 200’s goal of increasing flexibility in fisheries management. >click to read<17:51

Opinion: Fisheries act is a chance to build trust

There’s a little something for everyone to hate in the House’s proposed renewal of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Commercial fishermen feel it gives too much to recreational fishermen and environmentalists. Recreational fishermen say it goes too easy on their commercial counterparts, and the environmental lobby says the measure, which passed the House last week along largely partisan lines, will undo years of progress in restoring fish stocks. We are left with what we have had for decades — a pitched battle among competing interests, with no end in sight. Congress must do better to help guarantee that the science behind management decisions is sound and easily understandable. >click to read<19:25

The MSA and Don Young’s partisan dilemma

“We must remain committed to the bipartisan, bicameral tradition of fisheries management,” Rep. Don Young wrote last Sunday, “and my legislation accomplishes just that.” He was referring to the reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens Act. But when the House passed it on Wednesday, only nine Democrats voted in favor of it. Which explains why, in the same opinion piece, Young complained about “the hyper-partisan mentality” his “Democratic colleagues subscribe to.” Like the breakup of a marriage, there are two sides to this story. The reason why Young is arguing from both might be that he was caught in the middle. >click to read<09:00

Partisanship shouldn’t undermine our fisheries

Partisan rancor may be standard operating procedure for most of Washington, but let’s not allow it to unravel the progress we’ve made for our country’s vital fisheries.,,, The current reauthorization legislation on the table, H.R. 200, reauthorizes the MSA for the first time in over a decade. It has the needed type of collaborative, stakeholder-driven support that previous successful reauthorization efforts enjoyed. That’s because this reauthorization wasn’t created overnight — it has been carefully developed over the past five years with input from experts in fisheries’ science, commercial and recreational fishing groups, and a wide array of regional perspectives. >click to read< for various posts on the reauthorization >click here<06:25

U.S. House set to vote on key fisheries bill, HR-200, Tuesday

It’s called the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, or H.R. 200. It’s also referred to as the Modern Fish Act. Its author, Rep. Don Young, says the bill would update and improve the Magnuson Stevens Act, the primary law that guides federal fisheries regulators. “Reauthorizing the MSA will ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen and coastal communities,” Young said after the House Natural Resources Committee approved his bill in December. “MSA has not been reauthorized since 2006. It is long past time for this Congress to act and support our nation’s fisheries.” >click to read< Read the HR-200 Bill->click here< 08:39

If courts are ever going to strike down an illegal national monument, this’ll be it

Often, it seems the federal government has it out for the English language. The President and federal agencies routinely twist the words in statutes beyond recognition. For instance, PLF has long challenged EPA’s bizarre claim that dry land is “water” under the Clean Water Act. The government’s no fan of consistency, so it should come as little surprise that the President also claims the ocean is “land” when that suits his purposes. In Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, et al. v. Ross, PLF is challenging the designation of 5,000 square miles of ocean as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, under a statute that expressly limits designations to “land owned or controlled by the Federal Government.” The government has moved to dismiss that case arguing that the President can essentially do whatever he wants, the language of the statute be damned. Today, we filed our response to that motion. In our brief we explain that: Pacific Legal Foundation >click to read<21:52

Nil’s Stolpe writes, The Magnuson-Stevens amendment I want under the Christmas tree

OVERFISHING! This has become one of the oceans branch of the doom and gloom prognisticator’s (aka Environmental Non Governmental Organizations or ENGOs) principal calls for alms. To wit, they have collectively raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from big business-supported foundations and trusting members of the public to persecute (generally commercial) fishermen who they preach are the cause of “overfishing,” the major threat to the sanctity of the oceans. (I’ll note here that the Pew “Charitable” Trusts was the multibillion dollar foundation that initiated the war on fishermen.) This purposeful misuse of the term “overfishing” has been one of the most subtle and most effective weapons in the anti-fishing activists’ arsenal. Nils Stolpe FishNetUSA >click to read< 18:00

Alaska Fishing Delegation Heads To Washington

Representatives of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and the Alaska Marine Conservation Council– both members of the nationalFishing Communities Coalition (FCC) – were in Washington, DC, this week urging lawmakers to resist shortsighted efforts to weaken fishing communities by undermining key Magnuson-Stevens Act accountability provisions.,,, “The MSA is working in Alaska and around the country because all sectors adhere to scientifically-sound annual catch limits. >click to read<09:54

Scare-mongering Big Brother on America’s fishing boats hurts those who know the industry best

The plague on the commercial fishing industry isn’t “overfishing,” as environmental extremists and government officials claim. The real threats to Northeastern groundfishermen are self-perpetuating bureaucrats, armed with outdated junk science, who’ve manufactured a crisis that endangers a way of life older than the colonies themselves. Hardworking crews and captains have the deepest stake in responsible fisheries management — it’s their past, present, and future — but federal paper-pushers monitor them ruthlessly like registered sex offenders. >click here to read<09:47

John Bullard: SectorIX board’s failure to act stopped its fishing

For New Englanders, Atlantic cod is not just another fish. The Sacred Cod that hangs in the Massachusetts State House is a testament to the cod’s place in our culture and history. For centuries, we fished for cod, as we watched the stock decline, we tried various ways to protect the resource this is considered as much a birthright as a commodity. In 2009, the New England Fishery Management Council under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, agreed to try a system called “catch shares” which worked well on the West Coast. click here to read the op-ed 20:52 

Ocean perch stock rebuilt, could lead to more commercial fishing opportunities in 2019

Federal restrictions designed to protect Pacific ocean perch from overfishing have worked well enough for the Pacific Fishery Management Council to consider the fishery “rebuilt,” meaning it will relax restrictions. Once the new rules take effect in 2019 it should have significant economic value to the coast, experts say. “It’s a big deal for fisheries along the coast,” said Phil Anderson, who works with Ocean Gold Seafood in Westport and serves as chairman of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. click here to read the story 09:47

Money fish rule

Once more trawlers in the Bering Sea have gone to court in an effort to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) from billing them for the costs of managing Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea.,,, U.S. Commerce Department “cost recovery regulations, as applied to catcher-processor sector participants violate the (Magnuson-Stevens Act) MSA and (Administrative Procedures Act) APA, are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law, and are in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority or limitations and short of statutory right,” the trawlers charged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Alaska. click here to read the story 08:25

Full Committee Markup on 15 Bills – Magnuson Stevens HR 200 Advances, But Not Without a Fight

House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday advanced out of committee revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (H.R. 200 (115)) governing marine fishing and management in federal waters. The law is intended to prevent overfishing, but several conservation groups and Democrats are critical of the way it was written. Only three out of 12 amendments to the bill passed, and the bill moved out of committee on a party-line vote, your host reports. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who voted against it, called it a plan to “deregulate our oceans and fish everywhere until there’s nothing left.”   click here to read the story  Watch the hearing click here 15:30

Floundering with the Fishcrats

Right now just three miles from Long Island’s beaches boats are dragging fluke, or “summer flounder”, as is their official title. These boats are from several regional states, among them New York. Most are fishing under Southern state “flags”, as it were, as these states have the biggest quota shares and therefore the biggest daily limits. Each boat will have to steam to a port in the state of the landing permit it is working under to off load and sell the catch. This fishing here has been going on this way for many decades, but it hasn’t been until recent years that boats had to sail the flatfish hundreds of miles to sell them.  Bringing them within New York’s boundaries constitutes a serious violation of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Law, with potential felony convictions with huge fines, loss of license and vessel, and jail time. click here to read the story 09:02

Trade groups want 10-year requirement removed from Magnuson-Stevens Act

As Congress gets ready to address reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, representatives from commercial fishing interests are urging lawmakers to revisit some of the current law’s regulations they feel have hindered the industry. In particular, they’re urging officials to do away with language that caps rebuilding plans for overfished species to 10 years. It’s an arbitrary figure that has too rigidly applied across all federally managed species, said Lori Steele, the executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, at a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. click here to read the story 10:50

The Magnuson Stevens Act and its Ten Year Rebuilding Timeline: Science or Fiction? By Meghan Lapp – click here to read the article

Magnuson Reauthorization, let’s get it right this time – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) became law 0n April 13, 1976, one of its primary selling points, along with reserving the fish and shellfish in our coastal waters out to two hundred miles for U.S. fishermen, was that the eight regional Fishery Management Councils that it established had as voting members both government employees who were involved in fisheries management and private citizens who were knowledgeable about fisheries. Ideally this made for balanced decision making, allowing for both the official view of what’s going on in particular fisheries and the on-the-water observations of people with an actual working knowledge of the fisheries, and with the Secretary of Commerce required to sign off on any fishery management actions. (It’s important to note that this was well before supposed environmental crises were supporting a multi-billion dollar industry.) click here to read this article. 12:21

Trump Can Save Atlantic Fishing Industry by Reversing Obama Order

First and foremost, I love my country. I voted for President Trump and I believe he is doing an excellent job for this great nation. I salute him for getting out of the mess known as the Paris Environmental Accord, but when it comes to saltwater issues greatly effecting the American public, President Trump gets an “F” for his missed opportunities. Obama used a 1916 loophole called the Antiquities Act. He roped off an area the size of Connecticut to abolish commercial fishing.,,, This 5,000 square mile area is rich in lobster, crab, squid, swordfish, tuna, and other high-demand seafood. The Hudson Canyon, right off New York City, is still in nomination for further sanctuary inventory and is in initiation of the nomination process. If Trump does not move to suppress, cancel, or obliterate the current national park, commercial and recreational fishermen will see a devastation of their businesses and their sport. click here to read the op-ed 13:57

Choppy waters lay ahead for U.S. fisheries – Rebuilding Timeline – Science, or Fiction

Proposed changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, our nation’s fishery management law, would compound problems for the nation’s fish, says birder Harrison Tasoff. Fishery management got a significant boost when the act was reauthorized in 2007. The new legislation required the councils to base their strategies and quotas on scientific population surveys. It is crucial that these fish surveys are done by marine biologists. Professional fishermen’s knowledge of fish runs as deep as some of the waters they trawl. But their background prepares them for different kinds of tasks than a marine biologist, whose years of training equip them with the skills to conduct surveys and model ecological phenomena. The 2007 reauthorization also strengthened the timeframe that the agencies have to rebuild depleted fish stocks.  Click here to read the article    The Magnuson Stevens Act and its Ten Year Rebuilding Timeline: Science or Fiction? by Meghan Lapp One of the initial problems with a mandatory ten year rebuilding timeline is that it creates conflict within the law itself. Taking into account that a defined rebuilding schedule cannot be justified by science, a ten year requirement, or any time specific deadline at all,,, Click here to read the article 13:19