Protecting Our Fisheries: Public Opposition to the 'Empty Oceans Act'
On June 1, the House Republican majority passed an unpopular, overreaching update to our nation's fisheries law that would allow severe overfishing and put our natural resources at risk. Much more information about why this bill is misguided - and why it's opposed by so many business, environmental and scientific leaders - is available on this page.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) has come a long way since the law was first enacted in 1976 to secure viable fisheries and healthy oceans. 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 has expired. Congress is still funding its programs, but some of them need to be updated and the law needs to be 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.
On this page, you can learn more about the widespread public opposition to the Republicans' "Empty Oceans Act."
News Coverage and Op-Eds on the Republicans' Empty Oceans Act
The Hill: Rising tide of America’s sustainable seafood
The Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer: Don’t weaken America’s fisheries law
NRDC Switchboard: Another Effort to Gut Protections for Fisheries and Fishing Economies is Introduced in the House
SeafoodSource.com: Fishermen, NGOs oppose Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery grab
Huntsville (Ala.) Times: Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority is a fish grab waiting to happen
Northwest Florida Daily News: Red snapper proposal worries local anglers
Marine Fish Conservation Network: Ensuring Our Fishing Future
Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance: Commercial Fishermen Think MSA Bill Needs Work
Capt. Paul Eidman for the Asbury Park Press: Healthy Fisheries in Cross Hairs of Congress
Environmental Defense Fund: Congress Shouldn't Destabilize Our Fisheries
Pew Charitable Trusts: Congress Should Vote No on Bill That is Bad for Fish and Fisherment
Marine Fish Conservation Network: HR 1335 is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
TalkingFish.org: House Magnuson Bill is The Destabilization of Our Nation’s Fisheries Act
- Alliance of California Business Owners April 28.pdf »
- Alliance of California Environmental Groups April 28.pdf »
- Alliance of Gulf of Mexico Business Owners April 15.pdf »
- Fishing Community Coalition April 29.pdf »
- Pew Charitable Trust April 29.PDF »
- The Nature Conservancy April 28.pdf »
- Marine Fish Conservation Network Letter April 28.pdf »
- Letter to California Cong. Delegation May 28.pdf »
- Mid-Atlantic Anglers Letter May 27.pdf »
- NGO Community Letter May 27.pdf »
- Marine Fish Conservation Network Letter May 29.pdf »
- Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations May 27.PDF »
- Fishermen and Related Businesses Letter May 28.pdf »
- Aquarium Leaders Letter May 28.pdf »
- New England Aquarium May 28.pdf »
- Chefs Letters Opposing Empty Oceans Act May 29.pdf »
- Green Group CEO Letter May 28.pdf »
- League of Conservation Voters May 29.pdf »
- Environmental Entrepreneurs May 27.pdf »
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