Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young’s legislation to renew, amend and strengthen the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 225 to 152. The legislation, H.R. 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, represents more than four years of work by Congressman Young and the House Natural Resources Committee to update the premier law governing commercial and recreational fishing in U.S. federal waters.
Congressman Young shares his thoughts upon passage of H.R. 1335 (click here to watch).
“Flexibility is a cornerstone of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which promotes regional flexibility recognizing differing ocean conditions, variations in regional fisheries, different harvesting methods and management techniques, and distinct community impacts,” said Congressman Don Young. “H.R. 1335 will provide a number of modest but necessary updates to the Act, including efforts to improve fisheries management flexibility and transparency, improve data collection, create jobs, and what I believe is very important – provide predictability and certainty to the coastal communities that depend on stable fishing activities. Today’s passage of these commonsense reforms is truly a win-win for our fish, our coastal communities, and the nation. I look forward to continuing our work on this important reauthorization process, and remain optimistic on its future, particularly given the widespread support its received from stakeholders across the nation.”
Congressman Don Young speaking in favor of H.R. 1335 on the House floor (click here to view).
H.R. 1335 makes a number of improvements to the MSA in order to ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen and coastal communities. The bill includes the following:
- Added flexibility for fishery managers in “data poor” regions of the country for rebuilding depleted fisheries and setting annual catch levels;
- More transparency for fishermen and others in both science and management;
- Greater protection for confidential information, including proprietary data, submitted to regulatory agencies;
- Authorizes the use of electronic monitoring for data collection;
- A requirement for NOAA to provide better accountability on how fees are collected and used;
- A schedule for obtaining better fishery dependent and fishery independent data especially for data poor fisheries;
- Clarification on the role of the Magnuson-Stevens Act when interacting with other federal statutes like the Marine Sanctuaries Act and Antiquities Act;
- Appropriations for five fiscal years.
H.R. 1335 reflects years of work on reauthorizing the MSA. During the 113th Congress, the House Natural Resources Committee held 10 hearings on nearly identical legislation, with participation from over 100 witnesses, including Members of Congress, federal and state representatives, representatives from the regional fishery management councils, regional marine fisheries commissions, commercial, recreational including for-hire chart groups, processors, academics, and environmental groups.
As a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee and an original author of the 1976 MSA, Congressman Young was chosen by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) to lead the House’s efforts to reauthorize the MSA.
“This Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization is a win for the consumer, a win for the industry that puts food on our tables and restaurants, a win for the recreational fisherman, a win for better and more transparent science and the environment, and a win for the American taxpayers,” stated House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT). “The legislation would make a good law even better and it deserves more than blind opposition and empty political rhetoric from the White House. I commend Congressman Young and other Members for their leadership and dedication on this issue. Tonight we took a strong step forward in the effort to improve our federal fisheries laws and strengthen local economies across the country.”
Upon introduction of H.R. 1335, Congressman Young wrote the following Op-Ed, Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Moves Forward with Young at Helm, to emphasize the importance of the MSA and the need to review and update our nation’s fisheries laws.
For more information on H.R. 1335, please click here.
To read a one page summary of the bill, click here.