On April 10, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Vice-Chair Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI) and CSC Member Representative Brian Mast (FL) introduced H.R. 2236, the Forage Fish Conservation Act. This bill would ensure sufficient forage is available for all recreationally important fish species, as well as seabirds and other marine life.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation along with 16 other fishing and boating organizations, sent a letter to the bill authors in support of the legislation and indicated a willingness to assist in passing this important piece of legislation.
Forage fish provide a critical role as the base of the food chain that supports virtually all marine life. Unfortunately, the Magnuson-Stevens Act is not currently designed to account for the unique role of forage fish in the marine ecosystem, instead relying on traditional single-species management approaches and the concept of maximum sustainable yield.
H.R. 2236 would require that the impacts on fish populations and the marine ecosystem be considered before allowing harvest on any currently unmanaged forage species. It would also require that the predator be accounted for in existing management plans for forage fish.
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?