As Senate Panel Examines Fisheries Science, FCC Members Emphasize Positive Impact of Magnuson-Stevens Act on Fishing Families and Local Economies

Washington, DC – As a key Senate panel examined fisheries science in a hearing Tuesday, members of the Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) underscored the tremendous economic benefits science-based fisheries management has yielded for fishing communities across the country and urged lawmakers to strengthen these critical provisions as Congress considers reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

“Strong science-based fishery management under MSA has been critical to rebuilding and maintaining fish stocks, including the Atlantic Sea Scallop, which is vital to the livelihoods of so many Cape fishermen,” said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “We urge Congress to build on the progress that has been made since this critical law was enacted over four decades ago. There is too much at stake to turn back.”

Since 2000 alone, 41 fish stocks around the country have been rebuilt under MSA. These hard-earned successes have produced substantial economic and social benefits and ensured a safe and sustainable seafood supply for our nation.

“Through a powerful combination of sustainable, science-based fisheries management and close collaboration with America’s fishing industrythe MSA has yielded remarkable results from coast to coast,” said Linda Behnken, an Alaska commercial fisherman and Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. “Congress can secure the future of fishing communities by building on this success – including frequent stock assessments, better data collection across all sectors and policy designed to meet the needs of small-scale fishermen.”

Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard was the fourth in a series of hearings on MSA reauthorization. 

Last summer and this fall, representatives of four FCC member organizations from Alaska to the Gulf to Maine have testified before House and Senate committees on MSA reauthorization, including Linda Behnken of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Shannon Carroll of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, Ben Martens of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Bubba Cochrane of the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance.