Advocates of Magnuson-Stevens reform set to hit Capitol Hill

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Advocates of changing federal saltwater fisheries management are heading to Capitol Hill in an effort to work with members of Congress.

The co-chairmen of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management will present their vision for the future of recreational saltwater fisheries management March 26 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats president Scott Deal will bring their vision for how the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act should change to accommodate recreational fishing.

Until now, the law has extended rules designed for commercial anglers to the recreational industry, Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers, who also sits on the commission’s steering committee, told Trade Only Today last week. The “Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” was first unveiled at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show and has gotten traction from legislators, Angers said.

“The current Magnuson-Stevens Act does not sufficiently address this important use of our nation’s public fishery resources,” the National Marine Manufacturers Association said in a statement. “The commission’s report addresses recreational fishing specifically and differentiates the economic, social and conservation needs from those of commercial fishing.”

According to NOAA Fisheries, 11 million Americans recreationally fish in saltwater each year. These sportsmen and women contribute more than $70 billion to the nation’s economy and $1.5 billion for on-the-ground conservation of aquatic resources and habitats.

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