U.S. House of Representatives Undermines Success of Fisheries Management

Legislation increases risks of overfishing and hurts fishermen by prioritizing short-term gains

A fishing boat heads out to sea from Boston Harbor. (c) IStock

July 12, 2018 (BOSTON) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today in response to a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that threatens to reverse years of progress in fisheries management. The bill creates loopholes in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s primary law governing fishing and fishery resources, which has helped rebuild 44 fisheries stocks since 2000.

“This bill is a giant step backward for fisheries and fishing communities,” said Peter Shelley, Senior Counsel at CLF. “We need fishery management practices based on science and accountability, not the whims of politicians, and we applaud the representatives who voted against this bill. CLF will continue to fight for a national fisheries law with strong environmental protections that benefits our fisheries, fishing communities, and marine ecosystem.”

The loopholes created by the bill could potentially exempt hundreds of species from the law’s science-based catch limits, and the legislation includes several other measures that would undermine the core of the law that has led to its successes.

CLF experts are available for further comment.