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Statement: Markup of Sustainable Fisheries Legislation Underscores Urgency of Climate Change

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Washington, D.C. – Today the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a markup of the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act (H.R. 4690). The following statement was issued by Meredith Moore, Director of the Fish Conservation Program at Ocean Conservancy, in response to the markup: 

“Today’s markup of this ambitious and critical legislation brings us one step closer to addressing the serious impacts of climate change on our ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal communities. This bill commits to management that can sustain abundant fish populations resilient to climate disruptions and moves us towards a more just and equitable management system. We hope this legislation continues to progress through congress and is soon signed into law.”   

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Meredith Moore is available for interviews upon request. 

Notes to the Editor: 

  • The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) is the premier law that governs federally managed marine fisheries in the United States. The underlying law was first passed in 1976; it was last reauthorized in 2007. 
  • U.S. fisheries support commercial, recreational (private and for-hire), Tribal and subsistence fishing around the country. Commercial and recreational fishing generated $255 billion in sales and 1.8 million jobs to the U.S.[1] 
  • Prior to introducing the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act, bill sponsor Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-2) conducted a listening tour during the 116th Congress to engage stakeholders and identify challenges to the management of federal fishery resources. 
  • Key provisions in the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act include: 
    • Adapting our management system to the realities of climate change, targeting effort on the most affected stocks and requiring that managers consider climate information when making management decisions about how to keep fishing sustainable for the long-term. 
    • Restoring and strengthening the foundations of sustainable fishery management by addressing the growing challenge of stocks that fail to rebuild, tackling the challenges of monitoring and managing recreational fishing, focusing more effort on ecosystem considerations like habitat, forage fish and bycatch, and supporting increasingly vulnerable fishing communities. 
    • Implementing long-overdue improvements to increase representation and inclusion in fishery management, particularly by recognizing subsistence fishing and giving Tribes in the North Pacific rightful representation in the Council process. 

[1] National Marine Fisheries Service. 2022. Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2019. Available at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/fisheries-economics-united-states-report-2019 

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

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