Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

RFA-FL Sees Magnuson Reform Movement Gaining Momentum
February 19, 2010 - With just five days left before the February 24th rally in Washington DC, Florida Republican Congressmen Adam Putnam and Bill Posey have announced that they have both signed on as cosponsors of H.R .1584, the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act. The bi-partisan legislation would provide fisheries managers with additional limited flexibility when setting annual limits while simultaneously rebuilding healthy coastal fisheries. Rep. Putnam and Rep. Posey join fellow Florida representatives Ander Crenshaw (R), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Clifford Stearns (R), Allen Boyd (D), Ginny Brown-Waite (R), and John Mica (R) who have also pledged to support much needed reform to the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act (MSA).

Proposed changes included in H.R. 1584 and S. 1255, the companion Senate bill cosponsored by Florida Senator George LeMieux, would allow fishermen to retain reasonable access to healthy fisheries as fish stocks continue to rebuild and meet conservation objectives. It also calls for the assessment of the relationship between predator and prey and other environmental and ecological changes to the marine conditions in the stock assessment.Party Boat Rail

"Arbitrary provisions in MSA are having a catastrophic impact on fishermen and marine related businesses" explained Dave Huber, chairman of the Recreational Fishing Alliance's Florida state chapter (RFA-FL). "Fishermen all understand that conservation is needed and it is in their best interest. However, what fishermen cannot accept are draconian regulations based on flawed science using insufficient data with very large margins of error. Making matters worse, these devastating measures are occurring during times when stocks are at all time high levels of abundance. We appreciate Representaives Putnam and Posey for understanding this issue and cosponsoring H.R. 1584."

Both representatives are also cosponsors of H.R. 3307 that would require the Secretary of Commerce to gather additional information on the health of the red snapper stock before enacting complete closures in this fishery. Their support of both bills illustrates strong commitment to the fishing communities of Florida and the need for sound science in management of our nation's marine resources. Rep. Putnam and Rep. Posey are both slated to join commercial and recreational fishermen from across the country on February 24, 2010 as they demonstrate in DC demanding immediate MSA reform. Black sea bass, red snapper, amberjack are just a few important fisheries where recreational anglers have been denied access based on flawed science and arbitrary provisions contained within the federal fisheries law.

The rally is set for 2/24/10 at noon at the Capitol. For details on the DC demonstration, sign up for the RFA's email newsletter at www.joinrfa.org.

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