Federal fishing act getting attention

Federal fishing act getting attention

Commercial and recreational fishermen in the United States are hoping that an amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Act will address a misnaming issue that has unjustly penalized the fishing industry.

The proposed amendment is contained in the draft, called Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act. 

The draft legislation aims to alleviate a number of concerns that recreational and commercial fishermen and the businesses that depend on them have had, since the original intent of the MSA has been severely distorted by a number of agenda-driven organizations, according to Fishupdate.com.

Currently the MSA defines any stock of fish that is not at a high enough level to produce the maximum sustainable yield as being “over-fished.”

This is regardless of whether it is fishing that has reduced the stock to this level, or of whether cutting back on or curtailing fishing will return that stock to a “non-over-fished” condition.

The law is without question the most important piece of legislation that deals with U.S. domestic fisheries management. Thus, equating “not enough fish” with “over-fished” contributes to a blame-it-all-on-fishing mindset and is a gift to the anti-fishing activists.

The draft legislation will substitute “depleted” for “over-fished” wherever it appears throughout the MSA.

U.S. House Resources Committee chair Doc Hastings, R-Wash., who supplied the draft, acknowledges that the MSA needs some work.

“In the hearings we’ve held, there was general agreement that the Act is working,” he said in written testimony. “I’ve said all along that I believe that the Act is fundamentally sound. But success does not mean the Act works perfectly or should not be modified and improved.

“We have heard at almost every hearing that the balance between preventing over-fishing and optimizing the yield from our fisheries has become unbalanced and that additional flexibility for fisheries managers should be added.”

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is playing an instrumental role in shepherding the legislation through the process on the Senate side as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere and Fisheries, holding “listening sessions” with constituents and educating his fellow lawmakers about what the law does and how it affects Alaska.

Begich says he has heard much concern about climate change during those sessions, something not on the horizon when the Act was first passed in 1976.

He also has heard calls for more transparency in the public process regarding fisheries management decisions.

Cristy Fry has commercial fished since 1978 in Homer and King Cove. 

More in News

Christie Hill prepares to play “Taps” during the 9/11 memorial service on Saturday. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer honors lives lost during 9/11

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary held a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at the… Continue reading

Judith Eckert
COVID-19 patient says monoclonal antibody infusion saved her life

Antibody infusions highly effective in reducing risk of hospitalization, according to FDA trial ..

A sign flashing “Keep COVID down” also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
SPH holding steady in COVID-19 surge

Despite hospital crisis in Anchorage, Homer’s hospital not impacted, spokesperson tells Homer City Council.

Brie Drummond speaks in support of mask mandates on Monday, Sept. 13, for the Kenai Peninsula School Board meeting at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. During a work session before the meeting, the district presented revisions to its COVID-19 mitigation protocols. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district revises COVID-19 mitigation plans

The revisions come as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

A protester stands outside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin building in Soldotna on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Parents square off over masks at school board meeting

Some parents said they will keep their kids home if masks are required, while others say they’ll keep their kids home if masks aren’t required.

.
Borough School Board election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

.
Homer City Council election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Janie Leask, a Homer resident, spoke in support of the new multi-use community center during Monday night’s city council meeting, stating the need for community recreation is vital.
Council moves forward with HERC plans

After years of discussions and planning, the Homer City Council is quickly… Continue reading

Most Read