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Federal fisheries legislation in the spotlight

House Committee on Natural Resources holds hearing on eight fisheries bills

WASHINGTON, DC – CCA General Counsel Robert G. Hayes, one of the most respected voices on state, federal and international fisheries management issues, testified on Dec. 1, at a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources on a number of bills that propose to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal legislation that regulates the nation's fisheries.

In testimony that was described by Rep. Tom McClintock (D-Ca.) as some of the most sensible he's heard in three years on the Committee, Hayes focused on the Fisheries Science Improvement Act (H.R. 2304/S. 1916) and highlighted three overarching issues of concern with regard to federal fisheries management: 1) the importance of marine recreational fishing; 2) the negative consequences of adopting quotas by sector for every stock fish under management without standardized assessments to support those decisions, and 3) the urgency of acting now.

“The one-size-fits-all amendments adopted in the 2006 reauthorization of Magnuson undermine the discretion of Councils, which must manage to the species, fishermen and management systems available to them,” Hayes says. “What happened in 2006 was an over-reaching of control that has deprived many of the Councils of the discretion they need to tailor measures appropriate to the science and the management capability they have, not what they would like to have. The implementation of the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Act Amendment has gone to a level never imagined by recreational fishermen.”

The Committee hearing was designed to gather information on the Coastal Jobs Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 594); Strengthen Fisheries Management in New England Act of 2011 (H.R. 1013); American Angler Preservation Act (H.R. 1646); Fishery Science Improvement Act of 2011 (H.R. 2304); Asset Forfeiture Fund Reform and Distribution Act of 2011 (H.R. 2610); Fishery Management Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 2753); Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011 (H.R. 2772); Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2011 (H.R. 3061).

For a copy of Hayes’ complete written testimony, click here.

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