Reckless Federal Fisheries Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

Bill would increase risks of overfishing and undermine current successful law

Atlantic cod

Atlantic cod. Photo: Vladimir Wrangel via Shutterstock

July 12, 2019 (BOSTON) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today in response to the introduction of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that threatens to reverse years of progress in fisheries management. The bill creates loopholes around science- and conservation-based measures in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s primary law governing fishing and fishery resources, which has helped rebuild 45 fisheries stocks as of March 2019.

“If passed, this bill would be a giant step backward for fisheries and fishing communities,” said Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Director of Ocean Conservation at CLF. “We need fishery management practices based on science and accountability that benefit our fisheries, fishing communities, and marine ecosystem. Here in New England, we don’t have to look any farther than the dire state of Atlantic cod for proof that now is the time to bolster our federal fishery law, not roll it back.”

With stocks like cod that have been subject to overfishing for decades and the impacts of the climate crisis looming, it is imperative to look forward and build on the success of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The bill, introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-New Jersey), ignores these realities in favor of policies that would promote overfishing and harm the ocean ecosystem.

CLF experts are available for further comment.