In a time when Congress has a hard time passing laws that everyone agrees on, it seemed unlikely in late 2013 that a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act would include changes that would allow the law to approach the management of recreational fishing in a way that was different from commercial fishing.
But there has been encouraging movement this month on reauthorizing the act to include language specifically for saltwater recreational anglers, Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers told Soundings.
From its inception in 1976 to this point, the act that manages fish stocks and allotments in federally managed saltwater areas has largely addressed commercial fishing. Now there is a push nationwide to extend the act by adding language that would specifically cover recreational anglers in terms of catch limits, allotments and conservation, Angers said.
The act expired in September and has yet to be reauthorized because of some controversy around making the changes, Angers said, which means the most recent reauthorization still applies.
Visits with Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, chairman of the subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and Coast Guard, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., ranking member of that subcommittee, went extremely favorably, Angers said.
“Both offices gave uniform input that they wanted to include the type of language that was important to recreational fishing for both conservation and fishing,” Angers said. “It demonstrates how hard we’ve worked to build those relationships in those two states. Those offices couldn’t be farther apart [geographically] and they couldn’t be more different politically, but they’re on the same page.”