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Ordinary Angler
12-12-2006, 07:28 PM
How is it that something as important as the recent approval by the House and Senate of the Magnuson Stevens Act, or recent provisions to add three years to the Flounder recovery plan doesn't warrant a press release from MSSA?

Scott McGuire
12-13-2006, 07:26 AM
How is it that something as important as the recent approval by the House and Senate of the Magnuson Stevens Act, or recent provisions to add three years to the Flounder recovery plan doesn't warrant a press release from MSSA?

Add it to the list.

Snow Shovel
12-14-2006, 08:54 AM
OK, Iíll ask the obvious question: how does the latest revision to the Magnuson Stevens Act impact us recreational fishermen?

Is there any real impact, or did they just revise the Act to attach funding iaw the federal budget cycle?

Ordinary Angler
12-14-2006, 04:55 PM
Here's the only press release that I've seen:

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Press release, Office of Rep. Frank] - December 12, 2006 -
Congressman Barney Frank said today that the new fishing legislation passed
before Congress adjourned on Saturday lacks the flexibility needed to help
promote conservation of both fishery stocks and fishing communities, and he
pledged to work for changes in the law that would provide the balance needed
to achieve both goals.

The new legislation (H.R. 5946), passed by the Senate last week, and the House after midnight on Saturday morning, reauthorizes the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary U.S. fishery law. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law in the near future.

''Though the bill contains some positive elements, it unfortunately does not
include a crucial flexibility provision allowing an extension of several
years beyond the usual 10-year period for rebuilding weakened fisheries in
cases when meeting the normal deadline would impose excessive economic
hardship on fishing communities,'' Frank said. ''In situations when, for
example, the population targets for fish species are significantly increased
partway through a rebuilding period, or in multi-species fisheries -- like
New England -- when the need to protect one or more weakened species would
potentially shut down fishing of healthier stocks, it ought to be possible
to add a few extra years for rebuilding.''

''This approach can put fishing communities on a more gradual glide path
toward rebuilding, without hurting overall conservation goals,'' Frank
continued. ''While some earlier versions of the bill did include provisions
along these lines, they were not part of the final package. This is a
concept I have been emphasizing for the last several years as the Magnuson
re-write has been under consideration, and the failure to address this issue
is the reason I opposed the bill and spoke against it on the House floor.''

''Though the bill fails to address this question of flexibility,'' Frank
added, ''it does provide up to three extra years for one specific kind of
fish: summer flounder. I support giving summer flounder fishermen a few
extra years for rebuilding. This is the kind of case I have pointed to as a
justification for flexibility, and I would add that there are some New
Englanders who fish for summer flounder. But, there is no rationale for
limiting flexibility to one type of fish -- the argument for giving extra
time in this case should apply equally to other fisheries. In fact, several
New England species faced huge rebuilding target increases a few years ago,
and it's likely that similar situations will crop up in the coming years
elsewhere. A better approach would be to establish a system which offers
the possibility of flexibility in these situations generically, rather than
singling out one s pecies.''

''This is particularly important, given the fact that the law will now
require for the first time a specific deadline for ending overfishing along
with an annual catch limit,'' Frank pointed out. ''I have long felt that a
stricter requirement for ending overfishing on the front end of a 10-year
rebuilding period would be acceptable if it was paired up with flexibility
on the back end. Unfortunately, this bill only includes the front end
restrictions. The one consolation is that under the bill the new
restrictions won't apply for at least 3 years, at which point it is possible
that the situation in New England will be stable enough to avoid harsh
additional restrictions on fishing that will hurt the economies of fishing
communities in the region. However, that is by no means certain. Adopting
this new law without rebuilding flexibility is very risky, and I will be
fighting for the necessary changes before the new restrictions come into
play.''

''I am disappointed in the bill not only on its substance, but also on
procedural grounds,'' Frank noted. ''The initial Senate-passed version of the
bill had some positive elements, but the House bill was superior. There was
bipartisan support in the House for some form of rebuilding flexibility, and
I believe we were moving toward a solid bill that could have been merged
with the Senate bill and produced a better final product, but the election
intervened. I am of course extremely pleased that as a result of the
elections, the Democrats will be back in the majority in Congress, but the
one down side is that House Republicans essentially stopped their work on
the Magnuson bill after the election, and the Senate bill became the base
for discussions on the final version, with a small group in both chambers
negotiating all the details. This is the primary reason for the lack of any
flexibility standards in the bill.''

''Despite this largely closed negotiation process, I was able to get two key
points addressed at the last minute,'' Frank concluded. ''First, I inserted
language into the bill that requires crewmembers to be considered for
participation in Individual Fishing Quota referenda in New England. This
will help ensure that any IFQ vote represents a good cross section of
opinion within the industry. Secondly, during the House floor discussion on
the bill in the early hours of Saturday morning, I had an exchange with the
senior Democrat on the House Resources Committee (who will chair the
committee next year under the Democratic majority), in which he agreed that
scientific information used to calculate the annual catch limits under the
new law should be derived from a wide range of scientific opinion. This
clarification will make it more likely that alternative fishery models and
methodologies are taken into account in developing catch limits and
mana gement plans.''

Among the positive aspects of the bill cited by Frank are the following:

* Increases in funding for scientific research on fisheries, including an
expansion of the role of fishermen in research

* Explicit requirements that economic and social impacts of fishing
management decisions be given more consideration than under current law

* A mandate that safety be taken into account in developing management plans

* Requirements that Individual Fishing Quota proposals be open to legal
permanent residents as well as citizens, that such systems in New England
can only be adopted after a 2/3 referendum vote, along with the idea of
considering crewmembers for participation in such referenda

* A study on ways of increasing the number of graduate level students in
fishery science

* Grants for research into new types of fishing gear that could help
fishermen reduce unintended by-catch of other species

* Melding of some of the Magnuson Act's required analysis with similar
requirements in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in order to
reduce duplication and delays in development of fishery management plans

Frank noted that he would also be working in the next Congress for
additional safety enhancements, as well as pressing for provisions aimed at
broadening the access of fishermen and their families to health care.
Because these last two issues are covered by Congressional committees that
don't handle fishery issues, the final bill included only modest safety
improvements, and nothing on health care. However, there is bipartisan
support for action in both areas, and Frank said he believed that there is a
good chance of making progress on them in the next Congress.

captrich
12-14-2006, 06:59 PM
MSSA will have a combined press release with RFA tommorrow on our web site
MSSA . net

Ordinary Angler
12-15-2006, 09:23 PM
I just checked mssa.net. Nothin' there yet!!! Is it tomorrow? Or is that tomorrow?

scotty80
12-16-2006, 11:53 PM
I have to wonder how many MSSA members would read a press release the week before X-mass? I also wonder how many members voiced their concerns about Mag. before it passed? Since it's a done deal, what's the hurry to inform members about it now?

Add this to the BS list...

Ordinary Angler
12-17-2006, 10:41 PM
I have to wonder how many MSSA members would read a press release the week before X-mass? I also wonder how many members voiced their concerns about Mag. before it passed? Since it's a done deal, what's the hurry to inform members about it now?

Add this to the BS list...

You are kidding, right?

I would think that all of the work that Bill Windley did on M/S had some influence on the recent decision, and that would make it a feather in MSSA's cap. If that's not true, then maybe they aren't so proud.

Aside from that, the flounder issue is most important. Many areas along the east coast were facing the possibility of no flounder season next year at all. The three year extension makes it possible that we will be able to fish for flounder in the coming years to give NMFS as chance to "recover" the fishery the way they believe that it should be...and there's plenty to argue about on that point!.

scotty80
12-17-2006, 11:33 PM
You are kidding, right?

I would think that all of the work that Bill Windley did on M/S had some influence on the recent decision, and that would make it a feather in MSSA's cap. If that's not true, then maybe they aren't so proud.

Aside from that, the flounder issue is most important. Many areas along the east coast were facing the possibility of no flounder season next year at all. The three year extension makes it possible that we will be able to fish for flounder in the coming years to give NMFS as chance to "recover" the fishery the way they believe that it should be...and there's plenty to argue about on that point!.

I hear ya, So... Do we want fisheries managed based on science or what? Plenty to discuss about this;)

bentarmspinner
12-18-2006, 06:37 AM
You are kidding, right?

I would think that all of the work that Bill Windley did on M/S had some influence on the recent decision, and that would make it a feather in MSSA's cap. If that's not true, then maybe they aren't so proud.

Aside from that, the flounder issue is most important. Many areas along the east coast were facing the possibility of no flounder season next year at all. The three year extension makes it possible that we will be able to fish for flounder in the coming years to give NMFS as chance to "recover" the fishery the way they believe that it should be...and there's plenty to argue about on that point!.

NMFS didn't want extra time. NMFS begged the last few years that effort be reduced, so that just what happened wouldn't be a problem.