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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, 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 and shallow-water grouper fishing in Atlantic waters--do not believe that the Magnuson Act, 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
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Title Annotation:On the CONSERVATION FRONT: News and commentary from the environmental battlegrounds
Author:Conway, David
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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