March 13, 2013

Hearings this Week on Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization and Cape Hatteras

On Wednesday, March 13, the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Click here to watch a live recording of the hearing. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is the primary statute governing fishing activities in federal waters and expires at the end of fiscal year 2013. This hearing will be the first in a series that the committee will hold as it begins the process to reauthorize the act this Congress. The committee invited commercial fishermen from Washington, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Florida to testify, along with a professor from the University of South Alabama and officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages fisheries. A representative from the recreational fishing community was not included on either panel. The witnesses were asked to discuss their concerns about the law, ideas on how it could be improved and their opinions on various legislative proposals to amend it – many of which target hard catch limits and the need for updated data collection based on sound science. As the reauthorization process moves forward, CSF will continue to work to insure that recreational angling is considered in the process and be a voice for our nation’s recreational fishermen.

On Thursday, March 14, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing on the Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act (H.R. 819). Tune in here at 10:00am EDST tomorrow, March 14th, for a live video webcast of the hearing. This bill will reinstate the Interim Management Strategy governing off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. The park’s final ORV rule, which went into effect in 2012, is severely restricting public access to one of the East Coast’s most popular surf fishing areas and causing dire economic impacts to the local community. This legislation is needed to provide relief to this community by requiring the park to be managed under the Interim Management Strategy until a more reasonable and balanced final ORV plan is developed. Members of the recreational fishing community, including CSF, sent a letter on March 12, 2013 to the original bill sponsors Senators Richard Burr and CSC Co-Chair Kay Hagan and Representative Walter Jones expressing their support for this legislation. For more information, please click here.

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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