WASHINGTON — A legislative proposal that could ease limits on fish catches in federal waters including the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic is drawing praise from fishermen who say current restrictions are hurting them economically.
But conservationists counter that rolling back the limits would threaten the fragile health of certain stocks just now rebounding.
A Tuesday hearing by the House Natural Resources Committee was the first on the issue since December, when the committee released the GOP legislative proposal that would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The act governs the nation’s fisheries and spells out how eight regional councils are allowed to manage fish populations in federal waters.
The GOP proposal would give those councils more flexibility in how they rebuild fisheries and set catch limits, a primary tool to prevent overfishing of certain species. Fishermen and key advocates, including Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, say the limits have been overused recently at a cost to their industry.
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National Fisherman Live: 9/23/14
In this episode:
'Injection' plan to save fall run salmon
Proposed fishing rule to protect seabirds
Council, White House talk monument expansion
Louisiana shrimpers hurt by price drop
Maine and New Hampshire fish numbers down
The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative is introducing its Chef Ambassador Program. Created to inspire and educate chefs and home cooks across the country about the unique qualities of lobster from Maine, the program showcases how it can be incorporated into a range of inspired culinary dishes.
More than a dozen higher education institutions and federal and local fishery management agencies and organizations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at building the capacity of the U.S. Pacific Island territories to manage their fisheries and fishery-related resources.