Marine Fish Conservation Network Statement on the Senate Subcommittee Hearing for the Magnuson-Stevens Act

CONTACT: Jo Knight,

Arlington, VA – The Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing yesterday entitled, “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: NOAA and Council Perspectives.” Robert C. Vandermark, executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, released the following statement in response to the discussion in the Senate subcommittee’s hearing.

“The Marine Fish Conservation Network supports many points made at the Senate’s subcommittee hearing on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that will positively advance federal fisheries management.

“The Network was encouraged to hear the Senate discuss the importance of sustaining ocean ecosystems by acknowledging the need for conservative management of forage fisheries and addressing the ecological waste of bycatch, which creates negative social and economic impacts on fisheries around the nation.

“In addition, Network members wholeheartedly concur that scientific assessments and catch accounting are critical areas that should be improved upon. We disagree, however, with many of the solutions offered during the Senate hearing. Softening or eliminating annual catch limits is not a viable solution, nor is loosening the need for accountability measures. These combined tools have been one of the most effective methods for rebuilding fisheries on all coasts during the last decade. Instead, we can address current challenges with fisheries science and data by increasing funding for stock assessments, allowing third-party data that meets the scientific standards set by regional fishery science and statistical committees, and using innovative new mobile technology for catch accounting.

“The Network looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration as it continues to deliberate how to strengthen and improve upon the success of the Magnuson-Stevens Act in order to achieve healthier oceans and more productive fisheries in U.S. waters.”


The Marine Fish Conservation Network is a coalition of commercial and recreational fishing associations, regional and national conservation groups, aquaria, and marine science organizations committed to sustaining fish populations, healthy marine ecosystems, and robust fishing communities. For more information, visit us at or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@marinefishcons).