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Federal Fisheries Update – November 2018

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The reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) continues in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Here are updates on recent activities.

U.S. House of Representatives.

The Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans of the Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over the MSA. Chairman Lamborn (R-CO) has held a couple of reauthorization hearings. There was an oversight hearing in July, and most recently in September on four bills related to reauthorization. Those bills were:

  • R. 200 (Rep. Don Young), To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • R. 2023 (Rep. Garret Graves), To modernize recreational fisheries management Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017
  • R. 3588 (Rep. Garret Graves), To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide for management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and for other purposes. RED SNAPPER Act
  • Discussion Draft of H.R. ____ (Rep. Jared Huffman), To amend and reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

We are pleased to note that fellow fisherman/conservation advocate Charles Witek testified before the subcommittee. His testimony is available via this link.

We expect the House will act first on reauthorization. The legislation will likely follow the structure and substance of H.R. 200 with additional elements added from the other bills noted above. How soon that will happen and how far it will get is anyone’s guess in this political climate. Our most optimistic contacts say the bills may get out of committee by the end of the year but we aren’t betting our Christmas presents on it.

U.S. Senate

The Oceans and Fisheries subcommittee of the Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the MSA. Chairman Sullivan (R-AK) has held four hearings so far and no additional hearings have been scheduled.

We are pleased to note that our like minded colleague; Tony Friedrich testified before the Oceans Subcommittee. His testimony is available via this link.

The subcommittee staff will be drafting a bill and has asked interested stakeholders to offer suggestions.

We expect the Senate will wait for the House to act first on the legislation. The subcommittee may have a draft to circulate for comment by the end of the year but it seems very unlikely they will try and get the legislation passed in the Senate before the end of the year.

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