Grijalva & Huffman Ask for Bipartisan Cooperation to Reauthorize Critical Fisheries Management Law

Washington, D.C. – At today’s 10:00 a.m. fisheries management hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) – a bipartisan law that aims to foster long-term biological and economic sustainability of our nation's marine fisheries – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee Ranking Member Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) highlight the need for bipartisan cooperation to reauthorize the law and make updates to improve fisheries science conservation and management practices.

Fisheries management has been highly successful under the MSA and there is already a great deal of flexibility in the law. Most U.S. fisheries have grown more profitable and many overfished stocks have rebuilt, thanks to science-based catch limits, accountability measures, and rebuilding plans enacted over the past two decades. Rolling back these strong conservation and management standards would jeopardize the profitability and sustainability of U.S. fisheries.

Under Republican leadership, fisheries policy has shifted from a bipartisan issue with regional divisions to a hyper-partisan one tied to an extreme anti-conservation agenda. Committee Republicans have chosen to use reauthorization of this traditionally bipartisan law to advance their agenda of undermining bedrock conservation laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Antiquities Act.

“Instead of following the tried-and-true blueprint of bipartisan negotiations to reauthorize and improve the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Chairman Bishop has chosen to hold American fishing communities hostage in his radical crusade to undermine bedrock conservation laws like the ESA, NEPA, and the Antiquities Act,” Grijalva said. “We agree there is room for improvements to modernize this important fisheries management law, but Committee Republicans must be willing to take a short break from trying to destroy our environment and focus on finding common ground. Otherwise they will have once again wasted their time on a bill that is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

“We have an opportunity today to set aside the partisanship that has stalled fishery management modernization for too many years, a delay that has jeopardized fishing communities across the country — including the ones I represent on the North Coast,” said Huffman. “The discussion draft that I’ve put forward to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act includes the priorities that we share, including supporting healthy fish stocks, recognizing the importance of recreational fishing for the first time, and accelerating the fishery disaster assessment and declaration process. This should serve as the foundation of a truly bipartisan effort to update this cornerstone federal fisheries management law, and I urge my committee colleagues from both sides of the aisle to work with us to develop and advance effective legislation to make our fisheries more productive and sustainable.”

The discussion draft introduced by Subcommittee Ranking Member Huffman acknowledges the desire of some fishing interests for increased flexibility in the law without weakening conservation standards, while also making long overdue improvements to fisheries management, monitoring and data collection.

Press Contact

Diane Padilla (Grijalva)                                                                

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 306-1333

Alexa Shaffer (Huffman)  &