Hawaii & Alaska
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Alaska management untouched under revised Modern Fish Act

Though a landmark piece of fisheries legislation will affect how many Lower 48 federal sportfisheries are managed, there won’t be many changes for Alaska.

President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Act — known as the Modern Fish Act — into law on Dec. 31, 2018. The law revises the management framework for recreational fisheries in federal waters, heralded by supporters as a way of differentiating sportfishing from commercial fishing and providing more fishing opportunity in the recreational sector.

In Alaska, though, the act won’t have much direct impact. Mike Leonard, the vice president of government affairs for the American Sportfishing Association, said it’s fair to say the provisions in the bill don’t herald many changes in the Pacific Northwest saltwater sportfisheries.

The final version of the bill itself removed some of the particular provisions directly changing management strategies, but the essential purpose of the bill remains, Leonard said.

“The passage of a bill itself that is focused on saltwater recreational fishing … I don’t know that Congress has ever done that,” he said. “The motivations behind this were to get a recognition within the (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) that recreational fishing is important but that (commercial and sport) are fundamentally different activities.”

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