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Fishermen’s rally set for today in D.C.

Thousands of coastal recreational fishermen, business owners, commercial fishermen, charterboat and party boat owners and others are expected to descend today on Washington, D.C., for a rally calling for efforts to "Keep Fishermen Fishing."

Set for noon at Upper Senate Park, not far from the U.S. Capitol, “the unified efforts of America's fishermen will hopefully set the stage for bipartisan accord in protecting coastal jobs and maintaining access to healthy public resources,” according to Bob Healey Jr., a board member of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, one of the rally’s organizers.

As many as two dozen members of Congress are expected to address rally participants. The first fishing rally in 2010 brought together about 5,000 fishermen.

“Those fishermen planning to attend should remember that the rally has been coordinated in an effort to reform Magnuson. At precisely 12 noon the rally will start with presentations by key senators and congressmen who are supporting our efforts in the fishing community to add common sense to the federal fisheries law, primarily through passage of key pieces of legislation now being reviewed in the House Natural Resources Committee, most notably HR3061, the Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act,” according to the RFA.

This bill would extend rebuilding timelines in certain situations; suspend ACLs and “accountability measures” for fish stocks where science and data are insufficient to meet the national standards; call for socioeconomic impact reporting when certain management decisions are made; and require the National Research Council to perform another comprehensive review of the NOAA recreational data collection programs and the improvements made since the 2006 reauthorization.

“The RFA firmly believes that these pragmatic amendments to the federal fisheries law would help keep fishermen fishing on healthy and sustainable fish stocks, which is something supported by both the recreational and commercial fishing communities,” the group said.

Rally organizers and supporters include the Southeastern Fisheries Association, Viking Village, Lund’s Fisheries, Fishermen’s Dock, North Carolina Watermen United, Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association, Southern Off Shore Fishing Association, Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Association, Long Island Commercial Fishermen's Association, the National Association of Charterboat Operators, Montauk Inlet Seafood, Hull’s Seafood, New York Fishing Tackle Trades Association, Panama City Boatmen’s Association, Alliance of Communities For Sustainable Fisheries, Westport Charterboat Association, Garibaldi Charters, Monkfish Defense Fund, California Wetfish Producers, Rivercenter Marine, Garden State Seafood Association, Big Game Fishing Journal, , New York Sportfishing Federation, United Boatmen, Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund, Atlantic Capes Seafood, West Coast Seafood Processors Association, Lower Columbia Alliance for Sustainable Fisheries, Ocean Isle Fishing Center, Tailwalker Marine, Fishing United, Raffields Fisheries, Patriot Sportfishing, the American Albacore Fishing Association, Montauk Boatmen’s & Captains Association, Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association, Marine Trades Association of New Jersey and Viking Yachts.

See Thursday’s Trade Only Today newsletter for full coverage of the rally.

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