MSA reauthorization debated in US House of Representatives


Two bills that would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act received a hearing on Tuesday, 16 November, in the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife.

As U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) said in a statement, the hearing was “one of contrasts,” as lawmakers reviewed his proposal and one by Subcommittee Chairman Jared Huffman (D-California). Young said Huffman’s bill would take authority away from fishing councils and give it to the U.S. Commerce Secretary. While he agrees with Huffman that some changes should be discussed, Young said the chairman’s bill goes too far.

“I do not believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” Young said. “I trust our fishing councils to make the best decisions for commercial, sport, recreational, and subsistence fishing.”

The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the law governing U.S. federal fisheries management, passed 45 years ago and has subsequently been amended several times. It was last reauthorized in 2006, and attempts by lawmakers to reauthorize MSA in recent years have been unsuccessful.

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