Bill proposes changes to Magnuson-Stevens Act.A federal bill to amend The Magnuson-Stevens Act has garnered the attention of anglers hoping to stop the drastic curtailments of their fisheries around the country. House Resolution 1584, titled The Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2009 and introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone Frank Pallone Jr. (born October 30, 1951 in Long Branch, New Jersey) is an American Democratic politician, who has been a member of the United States House of Representatives where he represents New Jersey's 6th district ( map). , Jr. (D-NJ), proposes to extend the authorized time period for rebuilding of certain fisheries.
In its proposed changes to the Magnuson-Stevens law, the bill would explicitly allow lawmakers and fishery managers to extend the rebuilding time period for overfished stocks by taking into consideration a host of factors, including "the sustained participation of fishing communities" and "the economic impacts on such communities, provided that there is evidence that the stock of fish is on a positive rebuilding trend."
Anglers active in efforts to stop the coming rash of fishery closures--including the pending closures of red snapper red snapper: see snapper. and shallow-water grouper grouper, common name for a large carnivorous member of the family Serranidae (sea bass family), abundant in tropical and subtropical seas and highly valued as food fish. fishing in Atlantic waters--do not believe that the Magnuson Act The Magnuson Act also known as the Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943 was immigration legislation proposed by U.S. Representative (later Senator) Warren G. Magnuson of Washington and signed into law on December 17, 1943 in the United States. , as currently written, requires such drastic closures. Nonetheless, fishery managers have been reacting to the Magnuson Stevens Act's stipulations to end overfishing within set deadlines with reductions in catch limits and closures.
Many anglers and leaders in the marine and fishing industries support the passage of H.R. 1584 to protect their fisheries, and they urge concerned anglers--and business owners in coastal communities dependent on fishing--to ask their representatives to support the bill, too.
One Florida lawmaker, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-5th District), is already on board with support for the bill. Brown-Waite is one the seven co-sponsors of the bill, but it will need to attract support from a wide base of representatives to gain passage.
--David Conway, Managing Editor