Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Feb. 17 08 -- Pot Bill and Fluke end-around

Sunday, February 17, 2008:

Lots of not-good going on but that’s seems par for the winter course.

The most upbeat thing I can bring up is the growing anticipation – and readying – for this weeks one-more-time push to have the pot/artificial reef bill through the Trenton juggernaut – known as the Legislature.

Here the report from Tom F: “The Senate Environment Committee hearing date to vote Bill S336 (prohibiting use of certain fishing gear on artificial reefs) and Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs is scheduled for Thursday, February 21, at 1:00 PM in the State House Annex, Trenton, NJ. If you can make the hearing please come out and support the bills.”

Here’s the Reef Rescue release:
“To all,
The Senate Environment Committee has set a date to consider Bill S336 (prohibiting use of certain fishing gear on artificial reefs). The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 21, at 1:00 PM in the State House Annex, Trenton, NJ.
During this meeting, the Committee will hear testimony (both recreational and commercial) and will then decide if A336 should move on to the Senate floor for a final vote. If we do not have a presence, the bill will die. Please reserve this important date, attend the hearing and testify on behalf of all recreational anglers & divers.15/2008, Posted On: 2/15/2008
Contact: Pete Grimbilas Reef Rescue 973-454-0315.”

Washington, DC --- Congressman Frank Pallone introduced legislation yesterday that will amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2007 (MSA) and include limited flexibility in rebuilding healthy fisheries. HR 5425 has gained bipartisan support from 11 coastal legislators along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts illustrating that many believe limited flexibility is needed in the management of rebuilding fish stocks.

Here's the power move being made on the MSA:
RFA reports:

"We are very appreciative to Congressman Pallone and all the cosponsors of HR 5425 for introducing legislation on this incredibly important issue," states Bob Healey, Chairman of the Board, Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). "This amendment to MSA injects common sense for managing fisheries for our nation and will not compromise rebuilding and conservation."

The reauthorized MSA contains arbitrary and rigid rebuilding requirements, which have unnecessarily restricted recreational anglers and have not been adaptive to the dynamic marine environment. Top fisheries scientists and the RFA made this point during testimony at a congressional hearing in December 2007. Mr. Pallone's language would give the Secretary of Commerce the discretion to adjust rebuilding timeframes only if specific criteria are present to ensure that the conservation of such stocks continues to advance. Limited flexibility would allow fishermen to retain access to important fisheries such as summer flounder, red snapper, gag grouper, vermillion snapper, yellow-eye rockfish and canary rockfish, while continuing to achieve management goals.

"When deciding how best to rebuild fish stocks in complex environments, we must use sound biology and science, not arbitrary deadlines set by Congress," Congressman Pallone stated at a press hearing on Monday. "The legislation I'm introducing in Congress is about rational rebuilding, and it is the best way to rebuild our fisheries without bankrupting tackle shops, party boats and commercial fishermen."

This legislation needs to be passed and will be passed with the support of the entire recreational fishing community. It is critical that all recreational anglers and marine businesses get behind this bill and reach out to their legislators and ask them to support HR 5425.

"Congressman Pallone and the cosponsors have shown a tremendous amount of leadership," states Jim Donofrio, RFA Executive Director. Mr. Pallone and the cosponsors are to be commended for doing what is right and addressing a problem impacting their constituents."

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