Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Inc.

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Recreational Overfishing Threatens Future of U.S. Fisheries

Posted by Mscfuwebs@gmail.com on June 23, 2018 at 12:20 AM

Slew of Fisheries Bills and Misguided Recreational Fishing Measures Could Undermine Decades of Progress

A perfect storm is brewing behind closed doors that could drastically undermine the rebuilding of American fish stocks and threaten the livelihoods of the next generation of commercial fishermen. The U.S. Congress is set to consider a set of fisheries bills (H.B. 200 and S.B. 1520) that seek to increase recreational fishing access by looking the other way when it comes to accountability measures and sound scientific data. In addition, fishery management councils are taking up proposals to increase recreational access by altering allocations between commercial and recreational fishing sectors to favor the latter. The availablilty and access to fresh, sustainably harvested seafood for America's countless seafood consumers is under attack!

Recreational fishing organizations and lobbiest have conspired with large multi-national corporations that benefit from the sales of recreational fishing equipment, gear, and boats to push for increased recreational fishing access for a variety of species. This requested access comes at a time when recreational fisheries management is essentially data poor due to the fact that most recreational fishermen are not required to report their catch and very little reliable data exists to accurately quantify recreational catch rates. Therefore, there is alot of uncertainty as to how big of an impact increased recreational fishing pressure will have on fish stocks such as the highly-prized Red Snapper. Unlike recreational fishermen, commercial fishermen are required to report their catch so that fisheries can properly manage the fisheries and know exactly what is being extracted from the ocean.

This uncertainty and perfect storm of recreational fishing measures essentially amounts to a fisheries coup. The vast majority of American citizens do not recreationally saltwalter fish; however, a small percentage (4%) of sports fishermen are conspiring to undermine access to a public resource that most Americans can only access through seafood markets and restaurants. Commercial fishermen and supporting industry provides this access to the countless Americans who don't own a boat or even have access to the coastal waters. These misguided recreational fishing measures also threatens the future of the multi-generational fishing business that take much pride in providing healthy seafood option that most would never have access to. Reach out to your Congressional representative and demand that they vote NO on any misguided attempt to undermine this nation's sustainable seafood access!

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