It's rough managing annual recreational catch limits and coming up with accountability measures. That's what the chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council told the House Natural Resources Committee at a hearing on reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act.
Congress needs to reauthorize the law, which governs both commercial and recreational fishing harvests. The hearing took place on Wednesday, Sept. 11. You can view the hearing or read the testimony at http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=347456.
Fishing councils still lack crucial information, testified Richard Robins, chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC).
The law, last revised in 2006, requires regional councils to come up with annual catch limits and accountability measures (AMs), including how to handle overfishing. “Councils should not be required to manage their recreational fisheries beyond the limitations of their available catch data, and the act should support recreational AMs that are reasonable relative to the data,” Robins suggested.
He also suggested making uniform standards among fisheries – MAFMC must operate under different guidelines than state fishery management programs, though they cover the same fish. In the Mid-Atlantic, MAFMC has been able to work jointly with the state councils but Robins thinks they should have consistent rules.