The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee reported S. 1403, or the “Florida Fisheries Improvement Act,” for consideration on June 25, 2015. Senator Marco Rubio [R-FL] introduced the bill on May 20, 2015, and Senator Bill Nelson [D-FL] signed on as co-sponsor on June 25.
Senator Rubio is targeting Florida fisheries specifically with this bill, but certain measures could have implications for all fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Although some measures successfully address some of the biggest problems faced by fishing communities along the South Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, such as facilitating timely disaster funding distributions and supporting additional funding for data collection and assessment purposes, other provisions could relax existing requirements for science-based annual catch limits and rebuilding time frames. The Network does not support any measures that unnecessarily undermine the successful sustainability measures currently mandated in our primary federal fisheries law.
As this legislation is considered, we look forward to working with the Senate to ensure the final bill upholds the science and conservation requirements set forth by the Magnuson-Stevens Act and promotes healthy oceans and productive fisheries for Florida and beyond.