Mod­ern Fish Act rec­og­nizes the value of re­cre­ational fish­ing

Record Observer - - SPORTS -

The re­cent bi-par­ti­san in­tro­duc­tion of the “Mod­ern­iz­ing Re­cre­ational Fish­eries Man­age­ment Act of 2017” (Mod­ern Fish Act) begins a great op­por­tu­nity for Congress to ad­dress se­ri­ous chal­lenges that have faced the na­tion’s salt­wa­ter re­cre­ational fish­ing com­mu­nity.

If passed, the Mod­ern Fish Act will re­form cur­rent fed­eral fish­eries man­age­ment pol­icy, al­low­ing for greater pub­lic ac­cess to Amer­ica’s wa­ters, en­hanced sci­ence, and a much-needed boost for thou­sands of busi­nesses.

Amer­ica’s 11 mil­lion salt­wa­ter re­cre­ational an­glers — and the busi­nesses they sup­port — have ex­pe­ri­enced sys­tem­atic re­duc­tion of op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­joy our marine re­sources. Cur­rent fed­eral poli­cies are fail­ing mil­lions of Amer­i­cans.

Mem­bers of Congress on both sides of the aisle should sup­port re­cre­ational fish­ing by co-spon­sor­ing H.R. 2023, the Mod­ern Fish Act. The leg­is­la­tion is be­ing led by Con­gress­men Gar­ret Graves (R-La.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Web­ster (R-Fla.), and Rob Wittman (R-Va.). The Mod­ern Fish Act in­cludes re­ex­am­in­ing fish­eries al­lo­ca­tions, re­build­ing fish­ery stocks, estab­lish­ing ex­emp­tions where an­nual catch lim­its don’t fit, and im­prov­ing re­cre­ational data col­lec­tion. The bill aims to im­prove fish­ing ac­cess and con­ser­va­tion by us­ing mod­ern man­age­ment ap­proaches, sci­ence, and tech­nol­ogy to guide de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

“We ap­plaud the in­tro­duc­tion of the Mod­ern Fish Act in the House and the ef­forts of Rep. Graves and his col­leagues to mod­ern­ize the fed­eral reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing ac­cess to the pub­lic’s nat­u­ral re­sources by boaters and an­glers,” Na­tional Marine Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Thom Damm­rich said. “We ap­pre­ci­ate the Con­gress­men’s sup­port for bet­ter man­age­ment of our re­cre­ational fish­eries that will bring fed­eral man­age­ment into the 21st cen­tur y.”

“Get­ting more Amer­i­cans out­doors and en­joy­ing our won­der­ful nat­u­ral trea­sures, in­clud­ing in salt­wa­ter spa­ces, re­quires up­dat­ing and mod­ern­iz­ing fed­eral man­age­ment ap­proaches,” said Mike Nuss­man, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Sport­fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion. “The Mod­ern Fish Act ad­dresses the core is­sues within fed­eral salt­wa­ter fish­eries man­age­ment that are lim­it­ing the pub­lic’s abil­ity to en­joy salt­wa­ter re­cre­ational fish­ing, and will help max­i­mize the eco­nomic, so­cial, and con­ser­va­tion ben­e­fits that re­cre­ational fish­ing pro­vides to the na­tion.”

The coali­tion of groups sup­port­ing the Mod­ern Fish Act in­cludes Amer­i­can Sport­fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, Cen­ter for Sport­fish­ing Pol­icy, Coastal Con­ser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, Con­gres­sional Sports­men’s Foun­da­tion, Guy Har vey Ocean Foun­da­tion, In­ter­na­tional Game Fish As­so­ci­a­tion, Na­tional Marine Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Re­cre­ational Fish­ing Al­liance, The Bill­fish Foun­da­tion and Theodore Roo­sevelt Con­ser­va­tion Part­ner­ship.

*** Hos­pi­tal clays tour­ney The Univer­sity of Mary­land Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion has sched­uled its third-an­nual Sport­ing Clays Clas­sic for Satur­day, June 10, at The Point at Pin­tail near Queen­stown. Pro­ceeds from the event will ben­e­fit the equip­ment needs for the Clark Com­pre­hen­sive Breast Cen­ter in Eas­ton.

The tour­na­ment will fea­ture 75 tar­gets, lunch for par­tic­i­pants and prizes, raf­fles, and a si­lent auc­tion.

Reg­is­tra­tion is avail­able on­line now or on the day of the event at 8 a.m., with the shoot be­gin­ning at 9 a.m. Spon­sor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able in six brack­ets.

For more information, con­tact Amy Lowe, devel­op­ment as­sis­tant, at 410-822-1000, ext. 5763 or alowe@umm.edu.

*** Fish­ing re­port In the up­per Ch­e­sa­peake, an­glers are find­ing some tro­phy

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