Bills that weaken U.S. fishing law advance in Congress despite broad opposition

Statement from Environmental Defense Fund

December 13, 2017
Matt Smelser, (202) 572-3272,

(WASHINGTON – December 13, 2017) The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources voted to advance two pieces of legislation (H.R. 200 and H.R. 3588) today that threaten fish populations and the people who depend on them. Departing from a 40-year tradition of building consensus around federal fisheries laws, the bills failed to attract any meaningful bipartisan support and have faced opposition from conservationists, fishermen, chefs, scientist and other groups. The following is a statement Matt Tinning, Senior Director, US Oceans Program Environmental Defense Fund. 

“The Magnuson-Stevens Act is a remarkable bipartisan success story. It has fueled the recovery of America’s fisheries over the last decade, one of the great environmental achievements of our time. Unfortunately, rather than build on this progress, the House Natural Resources Committee today moved forward with a partisan mark-up that ignores the serious concerns of fishermen, chefs, scientists and conservationists. 

“H.R. 200 would exempt key fisheries from science-based catch limits, undermine the recovery of depleted fish populations, take management options away from local fishery leaders, and stifle innovation by fishing communities. 

“H.R. 3588 would weaken science-based catch limits in the Gulf red snapper fishery – a critical component of the current management system that has enabled quotas for recreational and commercial fishermen to more than double. We agree that management of private recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is badly broken and needs to change. We support efforts to find solutions that provide flexible access to anglers, but they must include real safeguards for conservation.”

You can find more detail on these bills here

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