New Report Supports Pallone Position on Flexibility in Fisheries Management
Washington, DC – A House Natural Resources Committee hearing today on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act brought to light findings of a new study from the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, which indicates a need for flexibility in fisheries stock rebuilding plans.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) has long advocated for additional flexibility to be incorporated into the Magnuson Stevens Act. Pallone has fought to change the law governing fisheries management and proposed changes to the Act’s required ten year fish stock rebuilding timeframe which he has called too rigid and arbitrary.
At today’s hearing, Pallone questioned witnesses Dr. Patrick Sullivan, an author of the NRC report titled Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the United States and Mr. Richard Robins, Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council about the ten-year timeframe and whether it is even biologically possible to rebuild within 10 years in some cases and if social and economic factors should be taken into greater account. Both witnesses agreed that additional flexibility in fisheries management is needed to account for more of these factors. Chairman Robins added that flexibility in the 10 year timeframe could better equip fisheries managers to protect fishing communities.
Pallone also questioned witnesses on a second panel including Jeff Deem of the Recreational Fishing Alliance about findings in the report that indicate that a lack of scientific certainty may require alternative fisheries management paradigms. Deem answered that field data from fishermen should be taken into consideration and that managers should consider that the science is not always precise and therefore balance the lack of data with other priorities.
Today’s hearing supported Pallone’s long-time call for revisions to the Magnuson Stevens Act that will take into account more socioeconomic concerns to ensure that the livelihood of fishermen and fishing communities are not unnecessarily hurt because of arbitrary guidelines.