Protecting Our Fisheries: Public Opposition to the Republican-Backed Fisheries Bills

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) has come a long way since the law was first enacted in 1976. Initially, provisions to “Americanize” our fisheries worked so well that by the late 1980s, some of our iconic fish species -- among them New England cod and Gulf of Mexico red snapper -- were severely overexploited. To address these problems, fishermen, environmental groups, congressional leaders, and others came together to improve the law, resulting in what is now one of the best fisheries management systems in the world.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act needs to be updated and reauthorized. That will only happen on a bipartisan basis. Unfortunately, Natural Resources Committee Republicans recently offered a highly partisan bill that would erase Congress' commitments to improve our oceans made during the 1996 and 2006 reauthorizations. The future of our oceans and fisheries is at stake.

Democrats on the Committee are committed to safeguarding the hard-won gains in U.S. fishery policy by learning from the past, listening to science, and putting resource sustainability first. We want to ensure that we maintain one of the world's best fishery management systems rather than trading it in for short-term profits.

The Republican-backed bills (H.R. 200 and H.R. 2023) are opposed by many businesses, environmental and scientific leaders.

Letters from hundreds of organizations and individuals opposing H.R. 200 and any other bills that weaken our fisheries management (link to letters): 

  • West Coast Coastal Business Owners
  • West Coast Seafood Industry 
  • American Fly Fishing Trade Association
  • Charter Fisherman’s Association
  • Environmental Entrepreneurs
  • National Restaurant Association
  • Fishing Communities Coalition
  • Recreational Fishing and Boating Business Owners 
  • Restaurant and Seafood Supply Chain Coalition 
  • Nation’s Leading Aquariums 
  • Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
  • Mid-Atlantic Anglers and Business Owners 
  • Gulf of Mexico Fishermen and Seafood Business Owners 
  • Seafood Harvesters of America
  • Gulf of Mexico Shareholders Alliance
  • California Ecotourism Businesses
  • Connecticut Ecotourism Businesses 
  • Florida Ecotourism Businesses
  • New Jersey Ecotourism Businesses
  • Washington Ecotourism Businesses
  • Restaurant Industry Shows Support For a Strong Fisheries Management System 
  • Restaurant Industry Supports the Magnuson-Stevens Act 
  • Scientific Community Letter
  • NGO Community Letter 
  • LEAF Connecticut
  • Connecticut Sierra Club
  • Citizens Campaign for the Environment
  • Environment New Jersey
  • New Jersey Sierra Club
  • New Jersey Audubon Society
  • Delaware River Shadfisherman’s Association
  • Delaware River Yachtsman’s League
  • Delaware Riverkeeper Network
  • Audubon of Washington
  • Future of Fish
  • Food Action
  • Orca Conservancy
  • Slow Food Seattle
  • Fishing Vessel St. Jude
  • Vancouver Audubon Society
  • Willapa Hills Audubon Society
  • Wild Fish Conservancy
  • Washington Wildlife Federation
  • Center for Food Safety
  • Environmental Justice Groups
  • Environment and Conservation Organizations 
  • New England Chefs
  • Members of Congress

Recent articles on the widespread public opposition to the Republican fisheries bills: