The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a field hearing Wednesday titled "Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” in Alaska.
Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha Marine Group, a NMMA member, testified before the Committee alongside numerous other industry leaders and organizations including the American Sportfishing Association.
In his testimony, Speciale focused on the economic impact of recreational saltwater fishing and thereby underscore the need for amending the Magnuson-Stevens Act to allow for increased management flexibility for recreational fisheries.
Speciale said that in order to maintain the saltwater fishing economy across the U.S. that the current law must change as it has not properly addressed the importance of recreational fishing. In his testimony, noting that,
"We believe that some critical improvements are included in S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017, which is currently pending before this committee," Speciale testified, adding if enacted, the provisions of that bill woul provide some of the statutory tools needed to better manage recreational anglers.
Specifically, the Modern Fish Act will allow federal fisheries managers to use alternative management approaches for recreational fishing, similar to state-based models that better align with the nature of recreational fishing and available data.
Among other innovations, it will improve recreational fisheries data by considering modern third-party data collection systems, such as from smartphones.
"These legislative changes take nothing away from other sectors while leveling the playing field for the recreational angler," Speciale said.