With another week to go until members of Congress return to Washington, the Seafood Harvesters of America are speaking out about proposed changes to the law that governs America’s commercial fisheries.While the second draft re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, put out by Senator Mark Begich and Senator Marco Rubio,addressed some of their concerns, their greatest concern remains:reallocation mandatessetting a dangerous precedent for coastal communities across the country.
As they expressed in their comment, they support their compatriots in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions in opposing the draft’s 5-year reallocation mandate on fishing privileges. The Harvesters believe those who want more access to fishery resources should be responsible for sustaining their fishery stocks. Reallocating these resources to recreational users, who do not adhere to the same accountability and data collection requirements as the commercial fishing industry, would be a step backward in ensuring that American-caught seafood makes its way to millions of American consumers.
They say fishing allocations should be based on thorough scientific analysis, as determined by regional fishery management councils, not dictated by arbitrary political deadlines. Southeast Alaska serves as an excellent example of strong accountability and cooperation between both commercial and recreational fishermen. There, halibut recreational charter and commercial fishermen must report their catches through an effective quota system, which are accounted for in the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). So they are calling for a phased in approach for a recreational sport fishery harvest data collection plan in regions where recreational harvest accountability can be improved.
They urge the public to join them in speaking out to their own Senators and Representatives. Tell them that the current law should be kept largely intact because it is working extraordinarily well and is a statute all Americans can be proud of. (From a statement from Chris Brown, President of Seafood Harvesters of America)
Posted by Rachel Allan