Congress Passes “Modern Fish Act” With Broad Support

Bipartisan compromise will keep U.S. fisheries strong

December 19, 2018
Matt Smelser,, (202) 572-3272

(WASHINGTON – December 19, 2018) Recreational fishing legislation known as the “Modern Fish Act,” was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today after advancing through the Senate on Monday. The legislation now heads to the President for signature.

Advocates from the recreational, commercial, charter/for-hire, and restaurant sectors, as well as many environmental groups, spent more than a year hammering out important compromise language that maintains key components of the current fisheries law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA).

The following is a statement from Matt Tinning, Associate Vice President, Oceans Program:

“Over the course of the last year the Modern Fish Act has gone from a conservation threat to a bipartisan achievement. Throughout the negotiations we insisted that any modification to the Magnuson-Stevens Act maintain the core elements that have made U.S. fisheries a global model of success: clear, science-based conservation standards and a variety of tools for regional fisheries management councils to apply in ways that meet local needs. We can all be proud to have reached agreement on a bill that responds to the demands of recreational fishing advocates without jeopardizing either sustainability or Americans’ access to local seafood.

“This has been a tremendous year of progress on recreational fishing issues, driven by innovative thinking at the regional level. The successful start of pilots testing state management of private anglers in the Gulf of Mexico and approval of new data collection systems represent important milestones for fisheries management in this country. We look forward to working under this new legislation to ensure that sustainable access to fisheries is maintained both for anglers who fish themselves and for the rest of the country that relies on commercial fishermen to access federal fishery resources.

“As we move into a new Congress, EDF will continue to work collaboratively and in good faith with all stakeholders at the regional level and in Washington, D.C., to ensure that U.S. fisheries management remains effective, flexible, and a global model of success.” 

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