Senators Improve ‘Modern Fish’ Bill

Network Applauds Progress Made, More Work Ahead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2018
CONTACT: Jo Knight,

Arlington, VA – The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today reported out of committee S. 1520, the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act,” also known as the “Modern Fish Act.” Robert C. Vandermark, executive director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, released the following statement in response to the Senate committee’s action.

“The Marine Fish Conservation Network appreciates the work and progress made to the Modern Fish Act by a bipartisan group of Senators. The Committee has responded to many of the concerns raised by our diverse coalition of anglers, small boat commercial fishermen, conservationists, and scientists.

“The Network applauds the improvements made, but we continue to have concerns regarding some provisions within this bill. Specifically, we remain concerned about the bill’s definition of ‘mixed-use fishery,’ creation of new bureaucracy to reallocate between sectors, moratorium on certain management tools, and creating unnecessary confusion at the council level. Instead, we believe that the many issues this legislation is attempting to address should be within the context of a comprehensive, bipartisan MSA reauthorization bill; to tackle these management issues through a piece-meal approach caters to the few and not the whole.

“A truly modern Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization bill should support and strengthen catch accounting and data management for all sectors, ensure healthy ocean ecosystems and environments, promote and prioritize community-based commercial and recreational fishing interests, and manage fisheries for abundance through science-based conservation principles. It’s in everyone’s best interest to pass on to future generation vibrant marine resources.

“The Marine Fish Conservation Network stands committed to working with Congress to make sure that Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization is informed by the experience and interests of those whose lives are guided, if not determined, by the management of our public fisheries. We look forward to continuing to work with the Senate to build upon the positive efforts to date to meet the needs and challenges faced by all Americans who rely on healthy oceans and productive fisheries.”


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).