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Oceana joins 200 scientists in emphasizing fish law's importance

Courtesy of
Black sea bass

Some environmental groups and scientists are calling attention to a law that prevents overfishing in the United States, worrying that Congress may gut it in the future.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act protects habitats and prevents overfishing. Now - it’s on the table to be reauthorized - which happens every 10 years.

Oceana’s Campaign Director for Responsible Fishing Lora Snyder said she’s worried that the House version of a reauthorization bill (HR 200) undermines the progress the US has made in protecting and rebuilding key fish species. 

She says she worries it weakens the Endangered Species Act and increases the risk of overfishing by removing requirements for annual catch limits.

“This is not the pathway forward that our country should be going in helping to rebuild fisheries,” Snyder said. “We know that rebuilt fisheries, healthy fisheries in the United States, are not only good for the environment and the ecosystem but [they’re] also good for economic incentives too.”

More than 200 scientists from around the country agree with Snyder. They sent a letter to Congress earlier this week criticizing any efforts that could weaken fish management.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act has helped rebuild Mid-Atlantic fish populations like black sea bass, summer flounder and spiny dogfish.

The Senate is currently talking about possible legislation to reauthorize the MSA. They’ve been holding hearings exploring the science involved in it and its success.