NOAA Sets Catch Limits on All Managed Species
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
unprecedented effort to sustain commercial and recreational fishing in the next
several decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration set the
world’s first catch limits for every species of marine animal it manages from
Alaska Polluck to Caribbean conch making an important shift in public policy
that could easily impact recreational fishing and boating. There are approximately 528 species of marine
animals being managed by the federal government.
recent public policy debates divided along party lines in Congress, this decision
was originally forged by a Republican president and finished with the backing
of a Democratic president. Five years ago
when President George Bush signed the re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens
Act, which dates to the mid-1870s and governs all fishing in our country,
language was inserted in the bill requiring each fishery to have animal catch
limits in place by the end of the 2011 to end "overfishing.”
NOAA has set catch limits on 40 of the 46 fishery management plans and expects
the remaining six plans to have catch limits by the beginning of the 2013
fishing season beginning on May 1. Some
fish like Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo, a game fish in the southeast Atlantic, will have
catch limits for the first time.
recently, regional management councils representing a mix of local interests
and anglers wrote the rules of fish stocks and regularly used scientific advice
to establish fish management plans.
Critics of the NOAA decision, like MRAA, argue the new plan lacks the
scientific data to justify the restrictions and seeks to undo them. Efforts are underway led by Rep. Frank
Pallone (D-N.J.) and Rep. Water B. Jones (R-N.C.) to relax some of the new
increasingly concerned that fishing will be curtailed without sufficient justification
due to the pressure exerted by environmental groups and even a few fishing
controls over recreational fishing are spotty.
NOAA has created an expanded dockside survey and will use new methods to
analyze the results. After an annual
catch limit is set for a recreational fishery, NOAA managers can adopt several
measures, such as limiting the season or the size of fish that can be taken.
and fishing groups face a long battle to relax these new catch limits," says Matt Gruhn, MRAA President. "MRAA is committed to the support of
recreational fishing and recognizes the importance of a strong fishing industry
for a strong boating industry. We will
work hard to relax these new rules.”