From around the US to the Caribbean, Central and South America to our friends across the Atlantic, the time I’ve spent abroad with fishers, chefs, fisheries managers and biologists and others has clearly demonstrated to me that the rest of the world recognises that the United States has the most well-managed fisheries on Earth. This is the obvious result of the strong fisheries management law we have in this country, called the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA).
I’m joining with chefs across the country to speak out against bills in Congress that would weaken the sustainability measures of this important law. This is more than just a fisherman’s issue or a coastal community issue—it’s a food issue.
HR 200 and S. 1520 would make significant changes to the MSA including exempting federal fishery management plans from the National Environmental Policy Act, which helps evaluate the broader environmental impacts of specific fisheries management decisions. E.G. this policy alone would give fisheries management precedence over the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Antiquities Act of 1906, and the Endangered Species Act. It would give undue power to fisheries managers in carrying out policies intended to insure, for example, the long-term recovery of species like the Pacific Salmon, which would require expertise beyond their normal charge and capacity. In other words, the exemption would allow managers to ignore appropriate environmental scientists, relevant scientific methods and data to inform policies and decisions regarding the implementation of relevant laws and regulations intended to effectively rebuild at-risk fisheries.