Roundtable tour leading up to Magnuson-Stevens re-authorization planned

The Democratic lawmaker who will spearhead discussions regarding the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act announced last week he will meet with key stakeholders later this year to discuss what should be included in the bill.

U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-California) announced on Wednesday, 10 July, that he will hold a series of roundtable discussions across the country beginning in the fall. Huffman, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, serves as the chairman of its Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee.

Magnuson-Stevens serves as the nation’s primary fisheries management bill. Since its passage in 1976, it has helped address issues that have caused overfishing in U.S. fisheries. Over the last 19 years, the law has helped rebuild more than 45 stocks. 

The last time a reauthorization bill was ratified happened in 2007.

The House of Representatives approved a reauthorization bill last year. However, the Senate did not take up the measure, forcing the reauthorization process to begin anew when the new Congress took effect in January.

In a statement, Huffman said he’s looking forward to hearing from people whose livelihoods depend on healthy oceans home to sustainable fisheries and how they feel fisheries management can become both economically and environmentally resilient.

“This public process will inform and improve future marine policy to meet the challenges our oceans and fisheries face in the 21st century, such as climate change, the need to utilize advances in science and technology, to support coastal economies, and to protect ocean and fishery resources to keep faith with future generations,” he said.

Dates and locations for the roundtables will be announced later. Huffman said he plans to file a reauthorization bill in next spring.

Stakeholders said they looked forward to meeting with Huffman discussing changes and updates that need to take place with the act.

“The Magnuson-Stevens Act is working by supporting healthier fisheries through science-based conservation measures that decrease overfishing and promote rebuilding fish stocks,” said Robert V. Vandermark, executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network. “The success of this law is due in large part to the public input during past reauthorizations from those who depend upon these marine resources to sustain their businesses and livelihoods. Chairman Huffman’s return to this approach is welcomed.”

John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, said he appreciates how Huffman plans to engage stakeholders in advance of filing the reauthorization bill.

“Small-boat, community-based fishermen are committed to doing our part to inform and improve marine policy to protect our fishing communities, both today and for generations to come,” Pappalardo said.


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