The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), last amended in 2007, is up for reauthorization, which means Congress is looking at whether the law needs updates or amendments. Among many other provisions, the law requires catch limits and science-based fish stock rebuilding plans and habitat conservation. Since 2000 the provisions in the law have restored over 40 species from unsustainably depleted levels due to overfishing, including bluefish, king mackerel, snapper, coho, jacks, and more. Quite simply, the law works.
However, the bill in the House of Representatives—H.R. 200—would exempt certain fisheries from catch limits, which will increase the risk of overfishing. It would also allow delays in recovering overfished species, which would keep depleted populations at less than healthy levels. It’s a short-sighted, short-term answer that favors increased fishing opportunity and revenue and ignores the long-term cost of potentially irreparable damage to the availability of abundant fisheries and successful angling experiences for generations to come.
It’s common-sense—if there are no fish, there is no fishing.