Anglers advocate for strong conservation measures

WHAT'S THE CATCH: Advocating for strong conservation with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: Ed Doherty of Mattapoisett, Cape Cod Canal fisherman and author; Steve Brustein of West Warwick, recreational fisherman, food service industry and chef; Tony Friedrich of Virginia, fish advocate; Capt. Greg Snow of North Kingstown, Snow Fly Charters; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse; George Baldwin of Northford, president, CT Surfcaster Association; Capt. Abbie Schuster of Martha’s Vineyard, Kismet Outfitters and Fly Fishing; and Capt. Dave Monti of Warwick.

Last week I was part of a group of anglers that visited Washington, DC advocating for strong conservation measures in our national fishing law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA).

The group visited senate offices urging senators to not approve a pending senate bill, S 1520. The bill had an unreasonable frequency of allocation reviews that would soak up Regional Fishery Council time, not allowing them to focus on important fisheries issues such as climate change and its impact of fish and habitat, ecosystem-based management, efforts to reduce bycatch and efforts to enhance forage fish species, etc. The bill also creates confusion around the use of annual catch limits, the very MSA mechanism that has led to the successful rebuilding of over 44 fish stocks.

The group was advocating for senators to oppose S 1520 this year and work on a bi-partisan approach to conservation and fisheries management in the future. They were suggesting that democrats and republicans reach across the aisle and work together in 2019 if and when the Magnuson-Stevens Act needs to be revised. The last House of Representatives bill passed in 2018 on MSA was pretty much voted on right down party lines.

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