Senate Commerce Committee Advances Bill that Rolls Back Protections for U.S. Fisheries | Oceana USA

Senate Commerce Committee Advances Bill that Rolls Back Protections for U.S. Fisheries

Press Release Date

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Contact: Amelia Vorpahl: [email protected] 202-467-1968, 202-476-0632 (cell)

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed a significantly amended version of  S.1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, which was the result of an effort to address concerns over S. 1520 as introduced. Although Oceana recognizes the new bill includes some improvements, such as removing a damaging provision on data-poor fisheries, it would also roll back several key conservation requirements in our nation’s 40-year-old cornerstone fisheries law – the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) -- in an attempt to provide more flexibility for recreational fishermen.

Specifically, the substitute bill opens the door for weakened accountability for the recreational fishing sector, creates disparities in how recreational and commercial fisheries are managed, and restricts innovative management systems that are currently being used with success in many fisheries.

Oceana campaign director Whitney Webber released the following statement in reaction to today’s vote:

“While we appreciate the need to improve recreational sector management and data collection, this bill undermines the MSA, which would be disastrous for our oceans and U.S. fisheries. We believe efforts to amend the MSA should build on the progress we have made over the last 40 years. The legislation advanced today would hinder the MSA’s effectiveness in halting overfishing and rebuilding fish stocks based on the best available science.

The MSA has helped the U.S. become a global leader in fisheries management, reducing overfishing, rebuilding fish stocks, and protecting our precious marine resources. Our oceans and fishing communities cannot afford to go back to a time when fish stocks were on the brink of collapse after decades of chronic overfishing.”

To learn more about Oceana’s efforts to promote responsible fishing, please visit