GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

December 1, 2011

House panel eyes Magnuson reform

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee heard more than three hours of testimony Thursday on eight bills to reform federal fishery laws, with the chairman asserting his intention to modify the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a move sought by fishing industry leaders throughout the East and Gulf Coasts.

The plethora of bills to amend Magnuson — it does not require reauthorization for another five years — and a brief exchange between a Democratic member of the committee from New Jersey and the Republican chairman from Washington State demonstrated a shift toward action, at least in the House.

"We should schedule a vote," said Congressman Frank Pallone, the New Jersey Democrat who has been at the vanguard of the movement to instill some statutory language in Magnuson that allows flexibility in rebuilding time lines. "I hope we can mark up these bills," he added.

"My intentions are to deal with these bills," was the response from Doc Hastings, the chairman.

The bills — including legislation by Reps. Barney Frank and William Keating, Massachusetts Democrats, Pallone and Republicans Walter Jones of North Carolina, Jon Runyon of New Jersey, Rob Wittman of Virginia — all "provide fertile ground for moving forward," noted Rick Marks, a fishery scientist, industry lobbyist and former member of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Marks described the shared concern of flexibility advocates — that the 2006 reauthorization brought the nation "the Alaska model," where the scale of the industry produces enough revenue to support stock surveys, acute technological monitoring, and scientifically based findings allowing confident calibrations of conservation and fishery yields.

The approach is "a good idea," Marks testified, "provided the scientific capabilities of the Alaska region also applied.

"We all know they don't," he continued. "Instead, we ended up with a rigid implementation model resulting in precautionary buffers and lower yields at the expense of our industry and our nation."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape