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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed July 11th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 222 Yea / 193 Nay
      house Committees
      House Committee on Natural Resources
      Water, Power and Oceans
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017

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What is it?

This bill would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act — the primary law governing how fisheries are managed and general fishing activities in federal waters — for five years through fiscal year 2022 with $397 million in annual funding. The original Magnuson-Stevens Act created eight Regional Fishery Management Councils, and this reauthorization aims to offer more resources and flexibility to Councils for managing their fisheries by reforming the process for designating and rebuilding depleted fisheries and setting annual catch limits.

Under current law, overfished and depleted fisheries are required to rebuild over a 10-year timeframe where no fishing takes place. This bill would replace that requirement with a timeframe that considers the time needed to restore fish populations, plus one mean generation — basically a fish's lifespan. The rebuilding period would be as short as practicable given the biology of the fishery.

Councils could phase-in rebuilding plans for dynamic fisheries over a three-year period to lessen the harm to fishing communities, and could consider environmental conditions and predator/prey relationships when developing rebuilding plans.

When setting Annual Catch Limits (ACLs), Councils would be directed to consider changes in the fishery’s ecosystem and the economic needs of the fishing communities — giving them flexibility without setting ACLs at a level allowing overfishing. Fish that are accidentally caught and are unlikely to be overfished would not need to have an ACL set for them, and fish with a life cycle shorter than 18 months would also not require an ACL as long as the mortality won’t impact the fishery. ACLs could be set for up to a three-year period.

The Secretary of the Interior would be required to develop a plan for conducting stock assessments for all stocks of fish under a fishery management plan that’d be updated every five years. If the secretary determines that a fish stock assessment is unnecessary for a certain stock of fish they’d have to publish an explanation in the Federal Register.

The Secretary of Commerce would be required to establish partnerships with states to develop state recreational fishing data. Grant awards to states would improve the implementation of state data programs, and would be prioritized based on the state’s ability to improve the quality and accuracy of the data collection programs. The Secretary would also enter into an agreement with the National Research Council to assess regional survey methods, and examine the limitations of NOAA’s current data collection programs.

The public would have more chances to give input into the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committees reporting process, and each Council would have to offer live audio or video of Council meetings.

Additionally, references in the Magnuson-Stevens Act to “overfished” fisheries would be changed to “depleted” fisheries to differentiate between fish that are depleted due to fishing from those that are depleted for other reasons.

Impact

People employed in the fishing industry or who live in fishing communities, people who eat fish, state fishing agencies, Regional Fishery Management Councils, NOAA, the Secretary of Commerce.

Cost

$1.40 Billion
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $1.4 billion over the 2019-2023 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced this bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act and reform fisheries management:

“Alaska is considered the gold standard of fisheries management and this industry is crucial to our local economy. My bill, H.R. 200, updates the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) to ensure regional fisheries are able to develop management plans that match needs of their areas which they know best. Reauthorizing the MSA will ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen and coastal communities. MSA has not been reauthorized since 2006, it is long past time for this Congress to act and support our nation’s fisheries.”

Some House Democrats expressed opposition to this bill, writing:

“While we have many healthy fisheries in the United States, we also have many that remain in dangerously depleted states or are only beginning their recovery. We have heard consistently from commercial and recreational fishermen, fishery managers, and the conservation community that the Magnuson-Stevens Act is working, and that the massive overhaul envisioned by this bill is not warranted. Without keeping strong conservation measures in place and continuing to improve management through better science, we will never realize the full potential of our fishery resources for sustainable economic development. For these reasons, we oppose H.R. 200 as reported.”

This legislation passed the House Natural Resources Committee on 23-17 vote and has the support of 11 cosponsors, including nine Republicans and two Democrats. During the last Congress a similar bill passed the House on a 225-152 vote before stalling in the Senate.


Of Note: In 2012, commercial fishermen in the U.S. harvested 9.6 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish, earning $5.1 billion for their catch while sustaining 1.3 million full- and part-time jobs. The most lucrative catches were sea scallops at $559 million, shrimp at $490 million, Pacific salmon at $489 million, and American lobster at $429 million.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: blmoregon via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act

Official Title

To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen, and for other purposes.

    Republicans are the best Conservationists and our fisheries for sport fishing must be clean and restocked on a regular basis! As does many of our sets do!
    Like (36)
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    Given that this bill is introduced by a Republican, and the Republican opposition to any kind of environmental protections, this bill is immediately suspect. When looked at more closely it looks like an effort to undermine protections on existing fisheries and lower the threshold to protect them in favor of industry. The fishing industry may achieve short term profits but will do so at the risk of long term survival. In fact, many in the fishing industry are against this bill. That speaks volumes!
    Like (131)
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    This bill would increase the chances of overfishing and reverse decades of science-based, common-sense management that's now in place under the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). This will have a devastating effect on marine wildlife, including the seabirds that need fish to survive. Human beings need a bio-diverse world in order to survive as a species. We can not survive if we continue to kill off species after species of wildlife and I personally wouldn't care to live in a world without the amazing natural wonders that exist. Please vote NO.
    Like (78)
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    When it comes to environmental or wildlife management legislation, Republicans are not to be trusted.
    Like (68)
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    The Magnuson-Stevens Act is working. The main reason this administration want to remove it is because it has to do with conservation. This administration is only looking out for large corporations and their big money. The middle class, working class and the poor are just dead goldfish being flushed down the toilet.
    Like (33)
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    Reading below, and considering the source (Rep Don Young), this sounds like a significant weakening of fisheries protection when in fact much more protection is needed.
    Like (22)
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    I would like seeing more conservation efforts, tightening up fisheries, and more regulations for our waterways.
    Like (17)
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    We must protect wildlife from the President and his damning administration!
    Like (15)
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    Any bill which promotes conservation and outdoor recreational sporting I will support. Liberals know nothing about real conservation because they are opposed to outdoor sporting- ie. hunting and fishing. It is upsetting and sad to see how many NAY votes there are. The left doesn’t want anyone enjoying outdoor sports of any kind. Ps... there are no guns involved in fishing!!
    Like (13)
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    This reads just like yet another GOP give away to industry, to to hell with the environment, lip service to the problem, and never mind the science. There are already fisheries that will not recover, at least not in my lifetime, and never if they are not carefully nurtured. I can't see that this proposal helps one whit.
    Like (9)
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    The fisheries are already near depletion. This would allow for continued use of overfished areas. Not very wise if you want your kids to keep eating in their future.
    Like (8)
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    The federal government should be in charge, just like with parks & national lands. With this administration in charge it’s scary that they are in charge, but leaving the care of fish and hatcheries in the hands of differentiating groups is putting the fish in danger. Ridiculous to put our wildlife in such dyer straights.
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    👍🏻H.R. 200 The Magnuson-Stevens Act👍🏻 I support the H.R. 200 bill (The Magnuson-Stevens Act) which would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act — the primary law governing how fisheries are managed and general fishing activities in federal waters — for five years through fiscal year 2022 with $397 million in annual funding. The original Magnuson-Stevens Act created eight Regional Fishery Management Councils, and this reauthorization aims to offer more resources and flexibility to Councils for managing their fisheries by reforming the process for designating and rebuilding depleted fisheries and setting annual catch limits. Letting the Fisheries Management Councils develop a regional plan to manage fisheries that takes into account local fish populations and ecosystems is as common sense as it gets. This will help fishing communities survive and prosper. 7*10*18 ...... which would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act — the primary law governing how fisheries are managed and general fishing activities in federal waters — for five years through fiscal year 2022 with $397 million in annual funding. The original Magnuson-Stevens Act created eight Regional Fishery Management Councils, and this reauthorization aims to offer more resources and flexibility to Councils for managing their fisheries by reforming the process for designating and rebuilding depleted fisheries and setting annual catch limits. Letting the Fisheries Management Councils develop a regional plan to manage fisheries that takes into account local fish populations and ecosystems is as common sense as it gets. This will help fishing communities survive and prosper. 7*10*18 ......
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    The way this is worded sounds like it will allow for better protection of fisheries, but to give more flexibility could mean lessening limits meant to be protective. I don't trust it without more information.
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    A bill that does the opposite of what the title suggests. This is becoming status quo for the Republicans.
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    Not any kind of expert in this field but I can smell a republican bs scam coming from a mile away.
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    It appears that this bill does not appreciate the complexity of fished ecosystems, and has unearned confidence in our current ability to manage ecosystems without causing lasting damage. Conservation should be the norm not the exception at this tumultuous time for the planet.
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    Sounds more like letting the fishing industry doing whatever it wants to make a profit!
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    The current Magnusson-Stevens Act has worked extremely well. It has prevented the boom then bust of off shore fisheries that plagued the US coastal waters before it was implemented.
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    This bill would be bad for fish ecosystems in the long run and lead to overfishing. The 10-year standard for rebuilding depleted fisheries should be maintained.
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