Rep. Huffman Leads Defense of Key Fisheries Management Law

July 12, 2018

Washington, D.C.- During debate on the floor of the House of Representatives today, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) led the opposition to H.R. 200, a partisan reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that undermines the nation’s most important fisheries management law.

The bill, which was approved by a narrow 222-193 margin, will irresponsibly weaken the longstanding federal law’s core provisions that have succeeded in rebuilding fish stocks and maintaining them at sustainable levels, to avoid commercial fishery disasters that threaten over one million jobs in the fishing and seafood industries, at restaurants, and in coastal tourism. Rep. Huffman, who serves as the ranking Democrat of the Water, Power, and Oceans subcommittee, introduced his own amendment to reauthorize and modernize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act while leaving these key management tools intact.

“The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is our country’s most important fisheries law,” argued Rep. Huffman on the House floor today. “I'm sad to say that H.R. 200 would roll back the important conservation and management standards that have helped us get to this point, that have helped end overfishing and helped rebuild a record number of fish stocks. This attempt to return us to the bad old days of a failed fishery management policy and overfishing that inevitably follows from loose standards should be seen as unacceptable to everyone who cares about sustainable fisheries.”

“The bottom line with this Magnuson reauthorization is this: the law is working as intended. Re-authorization is important but it shouldn't come at the expense of the law's core provisions that have made it so successful. I've offered an alternate amendment to re-authorize Magnuson. It contains constructive bipartisan ideas on how to best manage our fisheries by allowing for flexibility and modernizing aspects of fisheries management, and doing so without undermining provisions of the law,” continued Rep. Huffman.

You can watch Rep. Huffman’s full floor speech here.

Since the first hearing on H.R. 200 in the 115th Congress, Rep. Huffman attempted to work with the Republican majority to reach a bipartisan agreement to address a few key problematic provisions in the bill, but was unfortunately unable to reach agreement on safeguards to prevent overfishing, ensure science-based limits, and protect the nation’s fishery resources from long-term damage.

H.R. 200 is widely opposed by fishing industry groups as well as conservation, consumer, and local business leaders including: Fishing Communities Coalition, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Seafood Harvesters of America, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, Charter Fishermen’s Association, NW Guides and Anglers Association, Marine Fish Conservation Network, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oceana, Conservation Law Foundation, Patagonia, and many others.