Congress directs fisheries managers to address impacts to recreational angling
HOUSTON, TX – Coastal Conservation Association applauds the U.S. Congress for recognizing the need to address impacts to recreational angling as a result of the U.S. Catch Share Policy. Language inserted into the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill currently awaiting President Obama’s signature directs the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to provide a report within 90 days of the bill’s enactment on the effect of catch share program management to recreational fishing.
“It is reassuring to know that members of Congress understand the significance of recreational angling and are concerned about policies that may have a negative impact on it,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “NMFS is so mired in its commercial fishing past and present that it cannot seem to even consider a future with a robust recreational fishery. With the language in this bill, Congress instructs the agency to pay attention to what their policies are doing to recreational fishermen.”
The language that was included in the bill was supported by CCA, the American Sportfishing Association and the Center for Coastal Conservation and requires the agency to report “how data collection for recreational catches will improve in fisheries where the commercial sector receives catch shares; and how allocation conflicts between recreational and commercial sectors will be resolved.” The report is to be provided to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.
“Unresolved issues with catch share programs present serious challenges not just to recreational anglers, but also thousands of businesses, such as boat builders and tackle manufacturers, that depend on our access to healthy, sustainable marine resources,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center. “By working together to present our concerns, these groups were able to work with our elected officials to protect recreational angling, and that is a huge step forward.”
“A commercial catch share system could have a devastating impact on recreational fishing if the system is enacted without the appropriate analysis,” said Patty Doerr, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “NMFS has the responsibility to ensure that all sectors are treated fairly when instituting such far-reaching management measures. Assuming NMFS takes this responsibility seriously, the Congressionally-mandated report is a good first step towards ensuring that anglers are not unnecessarily disadvantaged as the Obama administration advocates for the increased use of catch share systems.”