September 14, 2017

CSF Fisheries Program Director Testifies on Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization before Senate Committee

On September 12, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Fisheries Program Director Chris Horton testified before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard regarding the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

Horton joined Phil Faulkner, President of Nautic Star Boats; Jim Donofrio, Executive Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance; and Anthony Friedrich, a saltwater angler, on a panel representing the recreational angling community at the Committee hearing.

During the hearing, Horton emphasized his support for moving towards a state-based management approach. “States manage for a healthy population and a robust fishery in order to optimize access for fishermen, both commercial and recreational. From a species conservation, harvest sustainability, and overall public satisfaction perspective, the state approach is simply a better methodology for many fisheries,” said Horton.

Horton discussed his personal experience as a saltwater angler in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the larger positive economic impact of the recreational angling industry. He included statistics from the 2015 NOAA survey, which concluded that there are 9 million saltwater anglers who contributed $63 billion in sales to the U.S. economy in that year alone.

In addition to suggesting alternative management approaches for recreational fisheries, he suggested that there is also a need for periodic allocation reviews in mixed-use fisheries of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as better incorporation of non-federal data and data collection methods.

The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, or Modern Fish Act, (S. 1520) aims to fix some of these issues and provides tools that fisheries managers need to effectively manage recreational fisheries, and is similar to the House version of the Modern Fish Act (H.R. 2023).

“Recreational anglers were among the nation’s original conservationists and continue to be so. Healthy, abundant fish populations have always been our goal, and we have been more than willing to personally invest in the long-term sustainability of our fisheries resources,” said Horton.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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