Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

What’s wrong with the Magnuson-Stevens Act?

A letter to NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, signed by the leadership of the American Sportfishing Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and The Billfish Foundation asks for immediate action to address a crisis within the federal fisheries management system.

“We support healthy fisheries and good fishery management. It’s good for anglers, our business and our economy. We’ve developed common-sense administrative and appropriations proposals that address the need for timely, accurate data while preserving efforts to rebuild our marine fisheries. We see these as a starting point for actions that must be implemented to address the short and long term problems,” said Mike Nussman, ASA’s President and CEO.

“Unfortunately, what we are seeing now is crisis management rather than fisheries management and this must stop before more jobs are lost and more of the nation’s recreational anglers are unnecessarily shut out.”

The letter offered specific recommendations to address the increasing problems with implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the chronic problems with the federal marine fisheries management system.

  • Take decisive, immediate action to improve recreational fisheries data by redirecting existing funds and personnel to focus on real-time management data.
  • Collect socio-economic data on recreational fishing in the communities most likely to be impacted by near-term or expected fisheries closures.
  • Provide federal level direction to the fishery management councils to use common-sense in their management approaches while the administration collects the requisite data to make sound management decisions.
  • Develop a recreational fishing program and staff within NMFS commensurate with the national economic contribution of recreational saltwater fishing.

According to CCA “Current efforts to revise the Magnuson-Stevens Act, including the so-called “flexibility” legislation (H.R.1584 and S.1171) do not address the shortcomings of NMFS that are negatively impacting anglers and, in fact, jeopardize a number of the true conservation gains in the Act.”

“H.R.1584 and S.1171 do not provide for better data-gathering or prevent the imposition of in-season closures when NMFS believes there is a danger of overfishing, nor do they improve recreational data and the way it is used. It just delays rebuilding,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “That is not where the problem lies.”

Read the news release here.

Read the letter to Dr. Lubchenco at www.asafishing.org/government/documents/NOAAMSALetterFINAL.pdf


  1. Tom,

    Thanks for this. I was unaware of this issue and its implications.


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