Legislation to Avert Unnecessary Fishing Closures Gathers Senate Support

Nelson/Rubio Bill racing the clock to fix management problems in federal saltwater fisheries

Posted on November 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nov. 29, 2011– With a December 31 deadline looming, support is surging for legislation to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service uses sound science to set catch limits for the nation’s fisheries as a Senate version of the Fishery Science Improvement Act was introduced late yesterday by Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). 

As amended in 2006, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires Regional Fishery Management Councils to put in place annual catch limits (ACLs) for every fishery by December 31, 2011. The requirements were intended to end overfishing by 2011 but were predicated on two critical assumptions: catch limit decisions would be based on up-to-date and accurate stock assessments; and there would be improved catch data to better anticipate potential problems in a given fishery. Neither of these obligations has been met.
 
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