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VIDEO: Pingree Speaks in Opposition to Partisan Magnuson-Stevens Act Rewrite

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) spoke on the House floor today in opposition to a partisan reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which sets national commercial fisheries management policy. The bill, which passed out of Committee on a party-line vote, would create exploitable loopholes in catch limits, weaken regional oversight, and undermine the responsible management of fisheries that thousands of Mainers depend on for their livelihoods. Pingree said she opposes H.R. 200 because it’s a “lost opportunity" to make substantive and important changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Text of her speech, as prepared for delivery, is below. 

I rise today in opposition to H.R. 200.  

I represent the great state of Maine with a rich maritime heritage, strong fisheries, and vibrant coastal communities that I am proud to represent.

The hard-working men and women who earn their livings on or near the water in my state have been working for decades to follow the Magnuson Stevens Act and federal fishery policy.

They are responsible stewards of our ocean resources.  And while the current law could be improved, it has been successful in allowing Mainers and others to support their families while restoring and preserving the health of our fisheries.

They want to pass this maritime heritage onto the next generation and I am afraid that this bill will make that task even harder for them.

This bill before us today, therefore, is a big disappointment to me because it misses an opportunity to update the MSA.

By reauthorizing Magnuson, we could work in a bipartisan way to address the current needs of our fisheries and provide more flexibility.  We could bring federal policy further into the Twenty First Century.

But this bill is the wrong approach for addressing fishery management. 

It weakens rebuilding requirements, creates loopholes in some conservation efforts, and has the effect of decreasing accountability that has been put in place to prevent overfishing.

H.R. 200 undoes efforts that have been proven to work, while failing to address some significant challenges in our fisheries.

It’s a lost opportunity and a bill that I cannot support.

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