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Anglers make case for better management of fisheries

News Release
Coastal Conservation Association
6919 Portwest, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77024
Email: [email protected] Website: www.joincca.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 26, 2011 CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH

Anglers make case for better management of fisheries
Testimony before House committee hearing explains how lack of science impacts recreational fishing and the economy

WASHINGTON, DC – With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continuing to struggle in the management of the nation’s fisheries, lawmakers today held a committee hearing intended to explore the impact of a looming deadline that will force the agency to set annual catch limits on stocks of fish for which it has no science. Today’s hearing, “NOAA’s Fishery Science: Is the Lack of Basic Science Costing Jobs? looked at how NOAA's fishery research affects jobs and the coastal economy.
As amended in 2006, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires federal fishery management councils to put in place annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for every fishery by December 31, 2011. The requirements were intended to end overfishing by 2011 but were predicated on two critical assumptions: NOAA Fisheries would make decisions based on up-to-date and accurate stock assessments; and the agency would improve catch data to better anticipate potential problems in a given fishery. Neither of these obligations has been met.
Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation, was invited to testify before the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs on behalf of American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association and The Billfish Foundation.
“How has the agency managed this great American business – marine recreational fishing – that generates $92.2 billion in total sales? That employs 533,813 people? That contributes $621.5 million in license purchases? How is NOAA Fisheries managing us?” asked Angers. “In a word: Poorly. All the vast, positive effects of recreational fishing on the American economy are based on three things: good management of marine fisheries, a sustainable resource and access to that resource. The agency’s lack of science is impacting all three.”
In his testimony, Angers laid out the case for HR 2304, the Fishery Science Improvement Act, sponsored by Rob Wittman (R-Va.) that seeks to avoid a situation in which the agency is compelled by statutory deadlines to make major fishery management decisions using inadequate data and incomplete analysis. In one of its core provisions, HR 2304 states that if the agency has not assessed a stock of fish in the last five years and there is no indication that overfishing is occurring, there is no requirement to set an ACL.
“NOAA Fisheries is simply making guesses in many cases when setting catch limits and in determining other management parameters, and guesswork should have no place in federal fisheries management,” said Angers. “No other wildlife resource management agency would think of operating without standardized stock surveys and assessments. Yet, for our marine resources, a hodgepodge of partial bits of information that perhaps add up to an informed guess is somehow good enough. We don’t accept that. That will always fall short of the standards we as a nation have used for managing our fish and wildlife resources.”
HR 2304 is supported by the 300-member-strong Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, as well as groups representing sportfishers and the marine industry. More than a two dozen other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have signed on as co-sponsors.
“Without Congressional action, arbitrary decisions affecting millions of anglers and thousands of businesses will continue to be made, and we can’t let that happen to anglers on the coast of Virginia or Louisiana or California or Alaska,” said Angers. “Today’s hearing is a wakeup call beyond this Subcommittee. The millions of Americans who responsibly utilize the nation’s public fishery resources and depend on them for jobs and recreation know this Congress can and will solve this problem.”


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,424 Captain
    I'd like to think that Congress and our President will act responsibly in this matter (and I support everything I've read above...). My best guess is that the folks who run NOAA and their fervent supporters will be able to frustrate any reforms. In the end the only certain action available to every angler and all the folks who earn their living from recreational fishing (that definitely includes me) will come with the next election.

    November 2012, it just can't come soon enough.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • DaveDave Posts: 149 Officer
    What a crock of BS. The deck was stacked against us once again by the enviros, and only an organization with its head as far up it a** as CCA could publish such garbage about the hearings. Reps included Harris, Geiger and Angers, the three stooges of Pew, EDF and closures.
    The publishing of such disinformational propoganda only futher proves its positions are much closer to Pews than to the recreational fishing anglers.
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 12,165 AG
    ...........“NOAA Fisheries is simply making guesses in many cases when setting catch limits and in determining other management parameters, and guesswork should have no place in federal fisheries management,” said Angers. “No other wildlife resource management agency would think of operating without standardized stock surveys and assessments."

    Something wrong with that Dave? I think it goes to the heart of the problem and I, like you, do no see eye to eye with CCA lately.
  • ACME Ventures FishingACME Ventures Fishing Posts: 851 Officer
    The fact that PEW strongly opposes this measure means that it
    can't be all bad! It may not go nearly far enough, but its going
    somewhere beyond the Status-Quo of Regulations based on No
    Data, that NOAA likes so much. There certainly is a need for
    Data that is untainted to be used, so a check and balance system
    needs written in to ensure that Data used is not hand selected
    by NOAA to siut its needs, or worse yet based on anylsis by those
    so opposed to fishing. It is interesting that the groups that only
    a year ago were all on Jane's bandwagon, are now all signing on
    to a legislative proposal you know NOAA does not want!
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