Says bill would be a step backwards in recovery of fish stocks
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke out against a bill that would gut key provisions of a major fisheries regulation law. On the House floor, Pingree said the proposed legislation might let some fishermen catch more in the short term, but would have devastating long term consequences. She said that science-based regulations have resulted in species like haddock and pollock beginning to make a comeback.
"Now is not the time to abandon these efforts. Now is not the time to give up on the progress we’ve already made. The only way to guarantee healthy fishing communities over the long term is to rebuild the fish stocks using science-based methods," Pingree said. "The future of many coastal communities is based on sustainable fisheries---not rolling back management systems to give a few fishermen a short-term boost."
At issue is the Magnuson Stevens Act, which was first passed in 1976 and is periodically reauthorized. The current version expired and Congress must pass legislation to renew it. The legislation proposed by Republicans (HR 1335) would eliminate requirements that regulations take into consideration the overall health of a fish species and instead look at short-term economic gain.
The full text of Pingree's statement is below.
I rise to support the reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act, but NOT the bill we have before us today.
Like many of my colleagues here in Congress who represent coastal states, I know the importance of a vibrant fishery and the importance of federal policy in this area that keeps our Nation’s fisheries moving forward.
I live on a small offshore island and many of my neighbors make their living as fishermen.
The most lucrative fishery in my area is for lobsters--and it is one of the most successful and sustainable fisheries in America because lobstermen and women have taken the long-term view.
It is so successful, and so sustainable, because it’s been carefully regulated for decades. Strict rules have led to bigger and bigger catches, and rising income for fishermen.
This fishery is proof that building a strong fishery happens first by ensuring there is a resource for fishermen to harvest.
Iconic species, like haddock and pollock, have been devastated by overfishing. They can still make a comeback, but not if we turn our backs on them and the fishermen who depend on them.
The collapse of many of thesefisheries has taken its toll on fishing families and fishing communities--but slowly rebuilding these species is rebuilding our hope for the future.
Now is not the time to abandon these efforts. Now is not the time to give up on the progress we’ve already made.
The only way to guarantee healthy fishing communities over the long term is to rebuild the fish stocks using science-based methods and I’d ask my colleagues to support more funding for science.
The future of many coastal communities is based on sustainable fisheries---not rolling back managementsystems to give a few fishermen a short-term boost.
I urge my colleagues to support many of the amendments on the floor this afternoon that will try to improvethis legislation and I urge a “no” vote on the underlying bill.