December 27, 2013
The act regulating America’s fisheries could see changes under the discussion draft proposed by the House Natural Resources Committee.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA, was up for reauthorization this year but that process won’t be finalized until 2014.
The House Natural Resources Committee released draft legislation Dec. 19 with 30 pages of proposed MSA changes that address several major fisheries issues, including catch share programs, electronic monitoring, rebuilding plans and the term “overfished.”
The draft legislation would authorize the MSA through 2018, and also authorize appropriations for five more years at the current funding level.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of that committee, said the changes will help fisheries managers balance the biological needs of fish and the economic needs of fishermen.
“The purpose of this draft proposal is to gather public input and to see how to best improve and modernize this important law governing fisheries,” Hastings said in an official statement. “This proposal would give regional fishery managers increased flexibility to deal with the complexity of fishery issues and provide economic stability and certainty to fishermen and fishery dependent communities. It also would improve data collection and increase transparency so that management decisions are based on sound science and all who are impacted by this law can have an active role in the process.”