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CRC_Of & Off Horizontal 1/2 pg_April.indd 1 4/13/17 9: 11 AM 42 | BoatU.S. Magazine JUNE | JULY 2017
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS can better work with the states. Frankly,
states are better equipped financially, due
to the support they get from anglers and
boaters through the excise taxes they
pay – namely, the Sport Fish Restoration
and Boating Trust Fund – as well as from
fishing licenses and boat-registration fees
that the states collect.”
As this article goes to press in
April, the angling and boating com-
munity, including BoatU.S., is working
with the new Congress and the admin-
istration on a Magnuson-Stevens
reauthorization bill that will incorporate
changes called for by the Commission
on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries
Management. Go to BoatUS.com/Gov
for updates from our Government
Ryck Lydecker is a fisherman and part of
our BoatU.S. Government Affairs team.
thing. Actually managing according to
what the policy says is another. That
hasn’t really occurred yet. One way to
make sure an agency gets the message is
having Congress incorporate this kind
of policy language in the law. Then
NMFS can’t ignore it.”
Congress hasn’t reauthorized MSA in more than a decade. But last
year, legislation moved in both the House
and Senate. Did lawmakers take note
of Commission recommendations in those
MCKINNEY: “Yes. In fact, a
bill (H.R.1335) that passed the
full House of Representatives would
require NMFS to use management
practices that make sense in managing sportfishing, which is very different
from managing the seafood industry.
Language in the bill requires better
tools to assess the status of fish stocks to
support more science-based allocation
decisions. All in all, a pretty encouraging first cut.”
In a significant departure from current practice, the commission
wants NMFS to establish recreational catch
limits by means other than the annual poundage quotas that it now divvies
up between commercial and recreational
sectors. Is that feasible?
MCKINNEY: “Absolutely. For years,
coastal states have managed their
saltwater fisheries by using seasons and
bag limits, not weight quotas, and have
done it successfully. The examples are
out there – Florida, Louisiana, Texas.
Congress could direct the feds to apply
this method to the stocks they manage
in federal waters.”
Why is that significant?
MCKINNEY: “Because of the current
budget situation, NMFS simply won’t
have the resources to properly manage recreational fishing on its own. The
agency is going to have to find where it
NEWS ALERT: Proposed cuts to the federal budget under the Trump administration
could impact several government agencies important to boaters. In our August issue,
we’ll examine what these agencies do for recreational fishing and boating. Stay tuned.