RECREATIONAL FISHING RULES TO BE OVERHAULED
The rules that govern recreational marine fishing in the U.S. will get an overhaul due to a new law passed by Congress, and the country’s millions of anglers and the groups that stake their livelihoods on them hope the changes will bring better management.
The new standards are part of a suite of changes that proponents call the Modern Fish Act that were approved by the House and Senate in December. Supporters said they will boost an industry that contributes billions to the economy, though some members of the fishing industry felt deeper rule changes were warranted.
The passage is a “big step toward implementing science-based methods” and “marks the first substantial update to the federal fisheries management system in more than a decade,” said Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, a boating industry trade group.
The author of the proposal, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, said one of the key features of the law is that it promises to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration incorporate data from fishermen. The data help inform fishing rules and regulations.
“Passage of the Modern Fish Act will boost our conservation efforts and benefit the local economies that depend on recreational fishing,” Wicker said.
Tim Hitchens pulls in a fish from a pier in Biloxi, Miss., on Sept. 5.