Recreational and commercial fishermen will gather on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Feb. 24 in an organized demonstration against what they say are the unintended negative impacts of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Coordinating the march under the flag of United We Fish, rally organizers are hoping to see a large show of force in defense of coastal communities.
"The closures keep coming and it's good to see the collective fishing communities and industries, both recreational and commercial, calling for scientific-based Magnuson reform," said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, in a statement.
Donofrio cited recent closures of amberjack, black sea bass and red snapper fisheries as examples of what he calls a "broken" federal fisheries law.
Organizers from within the recreational fishing sector are hoping to get commitment from all user groups and across varied state and regional boundaries.
"This is much bigger than any one state issue or individual grievance," RFA managing director Jim Hutchinson Jr. said in a statement. "Whether it's our restrictive fluke fishery in New York, the arbitrary closure of state waters for our anglers in California or the shutdown of red snapper and amberjack down South, our community has been divided by preservationist tactics for too long. It's time to unite the clans in defense of our coastal heritage and traditions."