Submitted by Ted Williams on Wed, 03/08/2006 - 17:19.
TRCP Marine Conservation Working Group Applauds Call to Action on Magnuson-Stevens Act WASHINGTON - Members of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Marine Conservation Working Group (MCWG) strongly support the message delivered today by key Bush administration officials to members of Congress that it is absolutely necessary to immediately begin moving on a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the country’s primary fisheries law. Both the administration and the Senate have put forward proposals on Magnuson-Stevens, but the House of Representatives to date has not done so. Speaking at an ocean policy forum, retired Adm. James Watkins, a former secretary of the Energy Department who heads the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, said, "We've got to get moving here on Capitol Hill. A good bill has been put forth by the [Senate] Commerce Committee and it's sitting there, waiting to be acted on. That's nuts. It's a good bill." Echoing these sentiments was James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who said, “This fisheries bill is ready to go. I don't know why it's not going. This thing is cooked. And it's a good bill." The TRCP MCWG, which brings together marine policy experts from the American Sportfishing Association, Berkley Conservation Institute, Coastal Conservation Association, Environmental Defense, the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and the Izaak Walton League of America, is turning its attention to coming developments in the House of Representatives. “We have been hoping to see the measure move forward,” said Carol Forthman, Director of Ocean Resource Policy of the American Sportfishing Association and member of the TRCP MCWG. “While there are some ways in which we’d like to see the Senate language improved, it does present a very good starting point for debate. And as that debate gets under way in the House, we look forward to working with its leadership to address our concerns.” “Our marine fisheries laws badly need several improvements,” said Matthew Connolly Jr., President and CEO of the TRCP, “and several of those improvements are included in the versions of the Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization already proposed. It is time to turn those proposals into the law of the sea.” The core principles of the TRCP MCWG include four key points – that marine fisheries management decisions must be based on scientific review, that recreational anglers must receive a more equitable allocation of fisheries resources, that state-based saltwater licenses can benefit recreational fishermen and should be encouraged, and that fishing tackle used by fishermen must reduce bycatch and not damage habitat. For additional information, go to: www.trcp.org/ch_marineconservation.aspx. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is a coalition of leading conservation organizations and individual grassroots partners, working together to conserve fish and wildlife and their habitat, increase funding for conservation and management, and expand access to places to hunt and fish. Tim Zink Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Deputy Director of Communications 555 11th Street NW, 6th Floor Washington, DC 20004 202-654-4625 [email protected]