Fishing & Boating News

Sportfishing Industry Provides Perspective on Federal Saltwater Fisheries Management

ASA provides testimony during U.S. Senate field hearing on Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization 

by: Mary Jane Williamson, Dir Communications,

(Aug 24, 2017 - Alexandria, VA)  The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) called on Congress to address the unique challenges of federal saltwater recreational fisheries management as it considers reauthorizing the nation’s primary law governing federal saltwater fisheries management.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing yesterday at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, Alaska titled: “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges.”

“While overfishing is now at an all-time low, in many fisheries that has not translated into improved fishing access for recreational fishermen,” said ASA’s Chief Marketing Officer Liz Ogilvie, who testified on ASA’s behalf. “This is believed to be a result of a management system that fails to recognize that commercial and recreational fishing are fundamentally different activities.”

Also testifying at the hearing on the challenges of federal saltwater recreational fisheries management were Ben Speciale, president of the Yamaha Marine Group, and Spud Woodward, director of the Coastal Resources Division at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The recreational fishing community has articulated the changes it would like to see to the Magnuson-Stevens Act through legislation already introduced in the Congress. On July 10, 2017, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017.

A companion bill, H.R. 2023, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6, by Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).

“Since its original passage in 1976 and through subsequent reauthorizations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act has never focused specifically on addressing the unique challenges of federal saltwater recreational fisheries management,” said Ogilvie. “We hope Congress will use the current reauthorization process as an opportunity to address this historic inequity, and ASA believes passage of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act would be a tremendous step toward this goal.

“By recognizing recreational fishing as an important and distinct activity, Congress and NOAA Fisheries can go a long way toward creating an environment in which saltwater recreational fishing’s many benefits to the nation are fully realized,” Ogilvie concluded.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America's anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.