Statement from the Marine Fish Conservation Network on H.R. 2023, ‘Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017’

Contact: Jo Knight,

Arlington, VA – Executive Director Robert C. Vandermark issued the following statement regarding the introduction of H.R. 2023, “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” (Modern Fish Act), by Congressmen Garret Graves (R-LA), Gene Green (D-TX), Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Rob Wittman (R-VA).

“We appreciate the co-sponsors’ attempt to address some of the concerns of our recreational fishing community. The ‘Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017′, however, would insert too much uncertainty into the fisheries management process by adversely changing catch limits and how they are applied, muddying the waters between state and federal management, and allowing political and economic considerations to override science in management decisions. The ‘Modern Fish Act’ could roll back many of the conservation gains we’ve made through the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s science-based approach to fisheries management, which has led to the successful rebuilding of many of our fish stocks.

“Recreational and commercial fishermen need abundant fish to catch, which can only occur with science-based management that conserves fish stocks now and for the future. Fishermen of all types recognize that healthy fish stocks require effective management and accurate data of how many and what types of fish are taken from the water. The Modern Fish Act acknowledges many of the fishing communities’ concerns without finding workable solutions to the issues.

“The Marine Fish Conservation Network supports more accurate and up-to-date catch accounting in both the recreational and commercial sectors and values the sponsors’ attempt to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, this bill falls short and is something that we cannot support. The Magnuson-Stevens Act has made advances in the path toward more productive fisheries possible, and we are looking to Congress to work through the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to continue that progress.

“The Network welcomes the opportunity to work with the bill’s sponsors and all of Congress to find the appropriate solutions to the issues raised in this bill and the many others that affect the livelihoods of our recreational and commercial fishermen and the communities that will depend on this public resource for decades to come.”


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).