WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 3697, a bill that would gut the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act (MSA), the nation’s key fisheries law, severely undermining years of progress in ending overfishing and rebuilding U.S. fisheries. The Magnuson-Stevens Act has helped stop overfishing, protect important fish habitats and rebuild depleted fish stocks, making the United States a global leader in fisheries management.
Rep. Young introduced similar legislation (H.R.200) in the 115th Congress, which was widely opposed by conservation organizations, scientists, commercial and recreational fishermen, divers, chefs and community leaders.
Oceana campaign director Whitney Webber released the following statement regarding the bill’s introduction:
“America is a fishing nation. We need strong laws to ensure we can protect the jobs and livelihoods that depend on this truly American way of life. Unfortunately, the bill introduced yesterday is yet one more example of U.S. leadership being jeopardized by special interests. This legislation would be catastrophic for the health of the oceans – and it could cost us some of our favorite seafood too.
With H.R. 3697, Rep. Young is trying once again to prioritize short-term profits over the long-term health of our oceans, past attempts of which have failed multiple times in previous years. This bill promotes irresponsible fisheries management and a thoughtless disregard for science-based decision-making that American fishermen cannot afford.
We need to celebrate and protect the improvement that has been made under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, not jeopardize years of progress that have painstakingly rebuilt many of our most iconic fish populations.
We urge Congress to defend the Magnuson-Stevens Act and responsible fisheries management by opposing this harmful bill.”
To learn more about Oceana’s efforts to promote responsible fishing, please visit https://usa.oceana.org/us-fisheries-management-101.