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House passes Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday to reauthorize the primary statute governing marine fisheries with language that would include and support recreational anglers.

A coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community praised the House on its passage of H.R. 1335, which would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

“The House action recognizes the increasing popularity of saltwater recreational fishing, which contributes $70 billion annually to the nation’s economy and supports 454,000 jobs in every type of business from marinas, tackle shops and boat dealerships to restaurants, motels and clothing stores,” Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers said in a statement. “While H.R. 1335 isn’t perfect, it goes a long way toward addressing the priorities of the recreational fishing community.”

The House-passed measure, Angers said, reflects many of the recommendations of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, also known as the Morris-Deal Commission for its co-chairmen, Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boats.

Provisions in the bill that the recreational fishing community supports include:

• Promoting a more transparent and science-based review of fishery allocations;

• Helping ensure that important fisheries aren’t closed unnecessarily by providing limited exceptions for annual catch limits;

• Improving the accuracy of fish stock information through greater involvement by the states and incorporating data collected by anglers themselves.