Fishing Groups from Around the Nation Call for Magnuson-Stevens Act Reforms

Globe Newswire –

Twenty-four members of Saving Seafood’s National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC) are calling on Congress to enact broad reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), including allowing for greater flexibility in how stocks are rebuilt and changes to how new management programs are implemented.

The proposals, delivered in a letter to Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, would, according to the signers, lead to a reauthorization that “allows for both sustainable fisheries management, and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities.”

The primary proposal is the elimination of the strict requirement that all fish stocks be rebuilt within 10 years, a timeline that the letter notes “has long been considered arbitrary.” Instead, the letter calls for allowing stocks to be rebuilt according to a “biologically-based time frame,” an option that it notes has broad scientific support.

“The National Academy of Science in their 2013 report titled ‘Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the U.S.’ concluded that ten years is indeed arbitrary given the vast differences in habitat, life history, and environmental conditions for fish stocks around the nation,” the letter states. “It is therefore time to replace this requirement with a more scientifically valid life-history based metric.”

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