MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - House Natural Resource Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) proposed legislation that would renew and amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The new legislation called "Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,'' would increase the time period to end overfishing from 2 to 3 years, give flexibility to institute fishery rebuilding plans that extend beyond the existing 10 year mandate, and allow consideration of ecosystem changes and the economic needs of fishing communities in establishing annual catch limits.
Hastings' legislation would also require an approval by a majority of the affected fishery permit holders of any proposed "catch share" programs in the South Atlantic region. Council for Sustainable Fishing Executive Director Tom Swatzel said, "Allowing permit holders the right to vote on the implementation of these schemes is the right thing to do."
The Council for Sustainable Fishing is pleased with the new legislation. "For too long, commercial and recreational fishermen and the coastal economy have been unnecessarily impacted by the mandates of the Magnuson-Stevens Act," said Swatzel. "Fishermen in the South Atlantic region have been suffering severe cuts in landings for years, killing jobs, hurting the economy and unnecessarily restricting consumer access to fresh domestic seafood."