Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act: Does that title scare anyone else in the conservation community? I wonder how this is making the environmental community shudder.
Since I and a large number of sportfishing anglers/guides I represent make our living from the ocean, we have a lot invested in the future of our fisheries; we want a future product to fish for. While we’re all looking to have big days on the water, we know that it’s important to conserve what we catch today so that we can have plenty to catch tomorrow. That said, any tinkering from a not-so-conservation-minded Congress throws up some red flags for our community. HR 1335 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“Increase in flexibility” as stated in the bill is another term for de-regulation. Yes, it’s nice to have flexibility in fisheries management, and adaptive management is a tool many qualified fishery managers use, quite effectively, and the current law already has that flexibility. We’re fortunate on the West Coast to have conservation-minded management councils and states, but those in other regions of the country, I’m not so sure. And who’s to say how long our conservation record will hold up when no-holds barred legislation is (or hopefully not) enacted? Let’s not take chances. Congress should vote against HR 1335.