The Denver Post - - NEWS | NATION & WORLD -

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.

Ger­ald Her­bert, As­so­ci­ated Press file

Tim Hitchens pulls in a fish from a pier in Biloxi, Miss., on Sept. 5.

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