Bill Impacting Saltwater Fisheries Management Introduced

Bill Impacting Saltwater Fisheries Management Introduced

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation on April 6 to change federal consideration of the recreational sector when managing saltwater fisheries. The “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act,” H.R. 2023 also known as the Modern Fish Act, was introduced by Congressmen Garret Graves (R-LA), Gene Green (D-TX), Rob Wittman (R-VA), and Daniel Webster (R-FL) to modify how the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) approaches management of recreational anglers. Rather than using management models that focus on pound quotas that benefit the commercial fishing sector, the Modern Fish Act would encourage use of extraction rates or harvest mortality targets that are currently used by state fish and wildlife agencies to manage recreational fisheries. The bill also calls for periodic reviews of fisheries allocations, establishes reasonable exemptions for annual catch limits, and improves recreational data collection.

“Private citizens who like to fish are on the losing end of the federal government’s failure to bring the way it manages our nation’s waters up to speed with the information age. Our bill is designed to fix that. By leveraging technology and data collection capabilities that already exist, we can use real-time information to improve fisheries management decision-making and enjoy the flexibility that comes with being informed by accurate numbers,” said Rep. Graves. “By modernizing federal fisheries policy, the Modern Fish Act will let us practice data-driven sustainability, get more people out to enjoy recreational fishing and unlock economic growth for coastal communities that rely so heavily on fishing activities.”

“Getting more Americans outdoors and enjoying our wonderful natural treasures, including in saltwater spaces, requires updating and modernizing federal management approaches,” said Mike Nussman, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “The Modern Fish Act addresses the core issues within federal saltwater fisheries management that are limiting the public’s ability to enjoy saltwater recreational fishing, and will help maximize the economic, social, and conservation benefits that recreational fishing provides to the nation.”

April 14, 2017