WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 200, which would severely undermine decades of progress in U.S. fisheries management. The bill is part of an ongoing effort to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), which is the primary law governing fisheries management in U.S. waters. The MSA has enabled the United States to become a global leader in well-managed and profitable fisheries, with over 40 domestic fish stocks rebuilt since 2000.
Oceana campaign director Whitney Webber released the following statement in response to today’s vote:
“H.R. 200 would turn the clock backwards on fisheries management and undermine important progress in restoring fish populations to robust levels that can provide Americans with fishing industry jobs and a steady supply of healthy seafood. The Magnuson-Stevens Act has succeeded in reversing overfishing and bringing back fisheries abundance in the U.S. However, H.R. 200 would undo the significant progress we’ve made over the past several decades for the health of America’s fisheries and fishermen. This bill would weaken science-based conservation of U.S. fish populations, decrease accountability, and increase the risk of overfishing by removing annual catch limits for many species.
In the last 40 years, the Magnuson-Stevens Act has helped the United States become a global leader in fisheries management. Yet, with today’s vote, Congress has allowed special interests to trump science, leaving future generations of fishermen, seafood consumers and ocean enthusiasts to pay the price.
In order to be profitable, fisheries must be well-managed, and follow strong, science-based conservation measures that hold all stakeholders accountable for what they take from the ocean. Weakening the MSA now would be disastrous for our oceans and for U.S. fisheries. Oceana urges Senate leadership to reject this bill and other efforts to undermine the health of our fisheries and the continuing livelihoods of fishermen.”
Today’s vote comes after over 500 U.S. businesses and individuals sent letters urging Congress to oppose H.R. 200, including 14 restaurant and seafood companies, 12 aquariums, over 350 chefs, 200 scientists, over 50 dive shops, and multiple recreational fishing groups.
To learn more about Oceana’s efforts to promote responsible fishing, please visit usa.oceana.org/ResponsibleFishing.