Saturday, September 16, 2017

House Committee Flowchart on the Magnuson Stevens Act Reauthorization

The House Committee on Natural Resource put together a useful flowchart to explain the MSA and the changes being considered under the Congressional effort to reform the act that sets the basic ground rules for our nation's marine fisheries - this might be a little hard to read, but you can go to a larger version of the image by clicking here and clicking on the image to expand it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

RFA Executive Director Testifies on Magnuson Reform

Recreational Fishing Alliance   
Contact:  Jim Donofrio / 888-564-6732  
For Immediate Release
September 12, 2017     
RFA Executive Director Testifies on Magnuson Reform
Senate Holds Final Legislative Hearing On MSA
On Tuesday, September 12, 2017 Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance testified before the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).  Today's hearing is the third and final legislative hearing held in the Senate on MSA reauthorization. The RFA has been in the vanguard demanding reform of this critically important legislation to make it more fair and responsive to recreational fishermen and the multi-billion dollar recreational fishing industry.
"Congress must be made to realize that managing fisheries requires a balance between resource conservation and economic considerations," Donofrio said. "Quite simply, while the system under the current provisions in the MSA has been successful in rebuilding some key fish stocks it has been a dismal failure at translating that success into socioeconomic benefits to fishermen and the recreational fishing industry. It is unnecessarily costing the nation thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost economic opportunity." 
In his testimony, Donofrio told Senators that we have been asking for your help since MSA was reauthorized in 2007 when amendments were made to the law that created a systemic management problem on a national scale and which is most acutely felt in the recreational sector.

Looking back at original intent of MSA (public law 94-265) signed into law on April 13, 1976, the primary objective of the law was to promote domestic commercial and recreational fishing under sound conservation and management principles. Unfortunately, this noble objective was altered in the 1996 and 2007 reauthorizations and currently, management can only be described as a failure, a total imbalance with recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry losing out.
"The needs of fish have been put at an inordinate level of priority while the needs of the fishing community and industry have been made an afterthought.  This is not sound resource management and we are asking that the Senate, along with the House,  pass MSA reauthorization bills as soon as possible to restore a balance to the management of our nation's marine resources," continued Donofrio.
The RFA has been and continues to advocate for MSA reform. It foresaw the impending economic train wreck that the law would spawn even before it was signed into law in 2007.  Now that the inevitable is occurring in fisheries like black sea bass, red snapper and others around the nation a coalition of recreational fishing groups and industry associations have joined together to promote reform through the passage of the Modernizing Recreational Fishing Management Act. Donofrio's testimony before this Senate Subcommittee is another in a long series of steps taken demanding action.
RFA and other organizations are pushing hard to pass Modern Fish Act bills in the House and Senate.  In the House, two bill have been introduced, HR 200 introduced Rep. Don Young from Alaska and HR 2023 introduced by Rep. Garrett Graves from Louisiana. HR2023 is the preferred bill as it addresses issues specific to the recreational sector.  A markup hearing is expected in early fall and there is hope that a bill could be passed out of the House by the end of the year.  Today's hearing in the Senate is the final legislative hearing on the MSA reauthorization.  Action in the Senate is expected to quicken once a House bill is released. 
Also testifying at today's hearing and speaking on behalf of the recreational fishing community were Phil Faulkner, President of Nautic Star Boats and Chris Horton of the Congressional Sportmen's Foundation.  Both speakers enforced the message that recreational anglers support and rely on sound, science-based conservation but that a balance must be struck to ensure that anglers also have a reasonable opportunity to harvest fish.   
To read Jim's full testimony click here!

About Recreational Fishing Alliance
The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit
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Friday, September 1, 2017

Despite ADN story, charter fishery no threat to rockfish

"We Alaskans pride ourselves on our fishing opportunities and scenic beauty, and take pleasure in sharing them with the world. The guided sportfishing sector shares the joy of wild Alaska with millions of visitors and residents every year. Yet, on Aug. 4, Alaska Dispatch News published the provocatively titled Outdoor article "Is the Alaska charter fishery threatening rockfish?"

In short, no.... click here to read the full article on ADN's website.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: NOAA and Council Perspectives

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, convened a hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: NOAA and Council Perspectives” on August 1, 2017. This hearing was the first in a series to examine the state of our nation’s fishery laws and guide the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.


- Mr. Christopher Oliver, Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

- Dr. John Quinn, Chair, Council Coordination Committee and Northeast Fishery Management Council

You can watch the video archive of the hearing here.


Fish politics can be a little overly serious sometimes, so here’s this:

Witherell named Executive Director of North Council

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council announced the appointment of David Witherell as its Executive Director, taking over the helm from Chris Oliver who moved on to be the Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. Mr. Witherell has worked for the Council for 25 years, and has been the Deputy Director since 2002. Council Chairman Dan Hull noted that “David brings a long history of Council experience and proven leadership skills as Deputy Director. We’re very pleased and fortunate that he has accepted the Executive Director position for the North Pacific Council.”

"Oliver, who has lived in Alaska since 1990 and been the executive director of the council since 2001, officially took the post of assistant administrator at the National Marine Fisheries Service effective June 19.

"The move places him in the top job at the federal agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that regulates and enforces fisheries occurring in federal waters, which are between 3 and 200 miles off U.S. coasts.

"As administrator, he will oversee NMFS’ 3,200 employees, five regional offices, six science centers and 24 labs and fish stations. NMFS works with the eight regional fisheries councils across the country to develop recreational and commercial fisheries policies, providing research and recommendations for conservation and management."


Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Bob Menendez make the rounds in Atlantic Highlands talking with recreational fishermen, while back in DC their fellow congressmen are tackling fisheries reform.

U.S. Senate Takes Up Fisheries Reform

“In early July, the recreational fishing and boating community praised the Senate introduction of the Modern Fish Act by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Kennedy (R-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WA). Supported by the American Sportfishing Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, International Game Fish Association and other groups, the new bill in the U.S. Senate (S.1520) would improve public access to America's federal waters, promote conservation of our natural marine resources and spur economic growth within the recreational fishing community.”

Read the rest of the article in The Fisherman Magazine.