NMMA praises Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization

WASHINGTON — The National Marine Manufacturers Association has applauded the passage of H.R. 5946, legislation that reauthorizes and amends the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act, NMMA said in a release yesterday.

The Senate passed the measure late last week by unanimous consent and the House followed suit early Saturday morning. The measure now heads to the President for his signature into law, which is expected.

NMMA said it worked with a large coalition of recreational fishing groups and conservation organizations to attain what it described as “this long-overdue reauthorization of the nation’s most important fisheries legislation.”

“I’m thrilled that Congress was able to pass this important legislation for our nation’s fisheries,” said Monita Fontaine, vice president and senior counsel, Government Relations. “This bill has been long in the making, and NMMA applauds all the members who came together and worked out a compromise that satisfies recreational anglers, many commercial fishers and the environmental community.”

NMMA said the legislation contains important conservation measures, retaining the 10-year rebuilding timeframe and adding a deadline to end overfishing for depleted stocks, as well as provisions to strengthen the science committees which guide management decisions on allowable catch limits. The bill also contains provisions that will improve the collection and use of recreational fisheries data, including social and economic data. H.R. 5946 strengthens science-based management, builds in safeguards for limited access privilege programs and includes freedom to fish language that will guide fishery managers in the designation of marine protected areas under the Act.

The bill requires that any such closure be based on the best available science, include economic and social impact assessments, first consider less restrictive alternatives and be reviewed periodically.

“NMMA believes the compromise language passed this weekend is a victory for the environment and for recreational boaters and anglers, demonstrating that the careful and sustainable use of our aquatic resources is compatible with preserving our environment for future generations,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president.

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