Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 200 the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act sponsored by Alaska Congressman Don Young.
“The North Pacific is the gold standard of fisheries management, and in Alaska the fishing industry is crucial to our local economies and livelihood,” said Congressman Young. “It’s been over a decade since Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) was reauthorized which is why I’m proud to see this bill pass out of the House today with bipartisan support. My bill will update MSA to ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen and coastal communities. We know that each region works within their unique conditions which is why I fought to ensure the management process will be improved by allowing regional fisheries to develop plans that meet their local needs. I am proud to say my bill protects our commercial and recreational fishing interests, and will allow Councils to do their jobs in a more streamlined and effective manner. I thank my colleagues who helped pass this important fisheries legislation today which will deliver much needed relief to this industry. I look forward to working with my Senators to see this legislation get to the President’s desk."
Watch Congressman Young's opening Floor remarks here.
“Improving how we manage our fisheries will help us be better stewards of our resources, while bolstering an economic engine for our country,” said House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah). “This bill provides much needed flexibility for fishery managers and creates greater fishing access for the public. I want to thank Reps. Young and Graves for their tireless efforts to work across the aisle and move this bill through the House. With this bipartisan vote, the ball is now in the Senate’s court, and we will work with them to get a final bill to the president’s desk.”
The National Coalition for Fishing Communities echoed support for H.R. 200 and said, “We want a Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) that allows for both sustainable fisheries management, and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities. We firmly believe that Congress can meet these goals by allowing for more flexibility in management, eliminating arbitrary rebuilding timelines, and adding other reforms that better take into account the complex challenges facing commercial fishermen. The concept of flexibility is supported by the National Marine Fisheries Service and it is time Congress makes it a requirement of MSA.”
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act (MSA) was first written by Congressman Young in 1975 and has been the primary law governing marine management in U.S. federal waters. Since its last reauthorization in 2006, federal regulations, improper science, and poor management decisions have hampered access to U.S. fisheries. H.R. 200 will improve the management process by affording regional Councils the flexibility to manage stocks effectively and better tailor management plans to suit their regional needs. Specifically the bill:
H.R. 200 passed out of the House by a vote of 222-193 with bipartisan support. The bill will now be considered in the Senate. Click here to watch the entire debate on the bill.
H.R. 200 is supported by more than 150 organizations.You can see the list of more than 150 organizations that support the bill here.