DATELINE ALASKA: COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN URGE CONGRESS TO BUILD ON SUCCESSFUL LEGACY OF FOUNDATIONAL FISHERIES LAW
At Senate Field Hearing, FCC Members Highlight Threats to Magnuson-Stevens Act & Science-Based Fisheries Management
Washington, DC – Members of the Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) continue to urge lawmakers to build on the successes of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and resist efforts to weaken the science-based management provisions of the law that have succeeded in rebuilding and sustaining America’s fisheries and the communities and consumers that rely on them.
Testifying before a Senate field hearing in Alaska chaired by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), FCC members recently highlighted the threats facing MSA’s core principles as Congress prepares to move forward with reauthorizing the primary law governing America’s fisheries.
“In Alaska, as elsewhere, commercial fisheries are a critical and sustainable source of employment, income and cultural identity,” said Linda Behnken, an Alaska commercial fisherman and Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. “The benefits of ending overfishing and rebuilding overfished populations are far-reaching, and the costs of delaying rebuilding are significant. The MSA is working here in Alaska and around the country – any changes should be guided by a commitment to conservation.”
Alaska has served as a model for the entire nation, as its commercial groundfish and halibut fisheries are widely considered among the best-managed fisheries in the world. The FCC members thanked Senator Sullivan for his leadership and urged Congress and the Administration to resist growing efforts to undermine the core conservation principles of MSA.
“Despite the 40-year track record in Alaska and the significant gains other regions have seen since the last reauthorization of MSA, some well-funded factions are pushing for Congress to undo this success,” said Shannon Carroll, Deputy Director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. “This would be a serious mistake. Congress can help fishermen, processors, coastal communities and the thousands of small businesses that depend on wild-caught, American seafood and fishing opportunities by investing in the science that allows fishermen to harvest optimum yield on a continuing basis.”
FCC member organizations and the commercial fishermen they represent will continue to press the case for science-based fishery management at every turn, including upcoming field hearings, events in the nation’s capital and elsewhere.