AFFTA welcomes Rep. Huffman’s listening tour, encourages focus on securing abundant fisheries
BOZEMAN, MT. – On July 11, 2019, U.S. House Water, Oceans & Wildlife Subcommittee Chairman Jared Huffman announced a nation-wide listening tour to commence this fall, to take input from anglers, fishing businesses and other interested stakeholders on updates needed to ensure the continued sustainability of federal marine fisheries. In response, Benjamin Bulis, CEO & President of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, issued the following statement:
“AFFTA thanks Rep. Huffman for showing leadership through his commitment to give anglers and stakeholders a voice in drafting the policies necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of America’s ocean fisheries. AFFTA recognizes that abundant marine fisheries supported by healthy habitats are the lifeblood of our robust and growing saltwater fly fishing industry, and we look forward to participating in this inclusive outreach process.
Rep. Huffman is right to acknowledge the important progress made to recover marine fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The law currently provides strong, science-based mandates to end overfishing and to quickly recover overfished fisheries. AFFTA believes we can build on this progress by ensuring important habitats are identified and protected, that the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification are addressed, and that forage fish are managed with an eye toward their role as prey. We also believe progress can be made to more effectively value the economic benefits of responsible catch-and-release practices – managing for fish in the water – which provides the recreational experience that our industry’s guides, retailers and manufacturers depend on.
We are encouraged that Rep. Huffman will address the challenges facing our oceans, its fisheries, and our fishing communities in a forward-looking manner. For too many years, short-sighted proposals that would reverse the progress we’ve made to rebuild federal fisheries have ruled the day. It’s refreshing to have new leadership charting a new course.
Regrettably, proposals that would undermine the gains we’ve made are still surfacing. Representatives Don Young (AK) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ) re-issued the Magnuson-Stevens Act re-authorization bill that failed to gain traction in each of the last three Congresses. It’s time to move on from the failed proposals of the past, and AFFTA stands ready to work with Rep. Huffman to improve ocean health and secure sustainable fisheries for all to access and enjoy.”