Commercial Fishermen: New Congress Presents Opportunity for Bipartisan Progress on Sustainable Fisheries Policy  

Community Fishermen Urge Lawmakers to Stand Up for Sustainable Fisheries, Young Fishermen

Washington, DC – With the 116th Congress set to take office in January, members of the Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) are urging lawmakers in Washington to defend sustainable marine fisheries management and conservation gains under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

“Supporting the men and women who make a living on the water by ensuring the sustainable management of America’s fisheries has always been a bipartisan endeavor,” said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “America’s commercial fishermen expect the next Congress to work in good faith to advance science-based fisheries legislation and defend the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which has demonstrated remarkable success in rebuilding fish stocks in U.S. waters.” 

Earlier this year, NOAA Fisheries reported that the number of fish on the overfished list reached an all-time low in 2017, thanks to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Efforts to gut America’s primary marine fisheries law fell flat earlier this year in the face of bipartisan opposition. The failed push was led by well-financed corporate interests, including foreign engine and yacht manufacturers.

“Fisheries policy must protect America’s marine resources and strengthen fishing communities, not advance corporate agendas,” said Dwayne Oberhoff, Executive Director of the Morro Bay Community Quota Fund. “We look forward to meeting and working with members of the 116th Congress to ensure a sustainable fishing future for American consumers and the men and women working hard every day to provide them with locally harvested, sustainable seafood.”

The Fishing Communities Coalition’s seven member organizations, representing over 1,000 fishermen from Maine, Cape Cod, the Gulf of Mexico, California, and Alaska, also urged lawmakers to back efforts to empower young commercial fishermen.    

“Young men and women looking to start a career in commercial fishing face daunting challenges, including high cost of entry, financial risks, and limited entry-level opportunities,” said Theresa Peterson, Fisheries Policy Director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. “Breaking down the high barriers to entry for the next generation of commercial fishermen is critical to the very survival of our fishing communities.”