The Magnuson-Stevens Act listening session held in Seattle, Washington on Nov. 22 by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) was a big success. Representatives Del Bene and Jayapal of Washington and Case of Hawaii participated in the session. The panelists represented a cross-section of user groups and fishing industry sectors in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
Led by Marine Fish Conservation Network (MFCN) Policy Council co-chair Linda Behnken, participants keyed in on climate change and its impact on fish stocks. In a statement last week the MFCN said, “The panelists discussed the significant threat that climate change poses to fisheries and the marine environment. In that context, the discussion covered managing shifting stocks, the need for additional resources for stock assessments and monitoring, and accountability to enhance the capacity for fishing communities to be resilient in the face of change.”
Listening tour participants across the nation seem to agree that the Magnuson Stevens Act is functioning well and that reauthorization should take a surgical approach to change. The panel also discussed forage fish protections and highlighted the collaborative and broadly accepted approaches that the Pacific Fishery Management Council and North Pacific Fishery Management Council have already taken to protect forage. The Pacific approach seems to be working well, as opposed to the prescriptive approaches envisioned in the Forage Fish Conservation Act (HR 2236).
The MFCN said, “The use of the term "flexibility" was a common thread throughout several panelists’ comments; these same individuals supported robust annual catch limits, and it is likely that there will be an effort to restructure the 10-year rebuilding timeline mandate to more appropriately suit the life history of depleted stocks.”
Rep. Huffman is chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee. To date two session in California have been held, one in Maryland and one is on November 22 in Seattle, Washington.
Several panelists’ comments touched on other key issues that Mr. Huffman has prioritized, including fishery disaster reform and the protection of essential fish habitat. Support for coastal infrastructure in the face of sea level rise appeared unanimous, while guaranteed opportunities for fishing communities when stocks shift or are rebuilt was touched on and did not appear contentious.
The listening tour is part of Huffman’s efforts to foster a more transparent, deliberative, and science-based process for developing natural resources legislation. The input from this listening tour, and from other stakeholder outreach will inform his introduction of a Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization bill next spring. Through this comprehensive and inclusive approach, Huffman hopes to restore the historically bipartisan character of marine fisheries policies including prior successful Magnuson-Stevens What multicultural audiences like about fishing
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) released new research on multicultural fishing audiences on Nov. 25.
The 800 person survey identified how and where to reach multi-cultural audiences and identified growth opportunities in the areas of accessibility, relevance, approachability and relatability.
Frank Peterson, president and CEO of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation said, “The great news coming out of this research is that multicultural audiences represent a strong opportunity for RBFF and the industry to grow both fishing and boating participation by promoting them as a memorable and relaxing break from daily life that fosters family bonding,”
These findings dovetail to why anglers in general have been saying about fishing. Oddly enough in a number of studies over the years the primary reasons why people fish is to be outdoors in nature and to spend quality time with family and friends. Oddly enough to catch fish is not the primary reason for most anglers.
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) is a national, non-profit organization that is leading the drive – in partnership with industry and government, and through its brands Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar – to increase participation in recreational boating and fishing, thereby helping to conserve and restore our country’s aquatic natural resources. Where’s the bite?
Cod fishing has been good when anglers have been able to get out due to high winds and rough seas. Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “Customers are doing very well with cod. Things are really starting to heat up with anglers continuing to catch some large black sea bass too.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We were able to get out one day to the cod grounds and they were biting right where we left them. This time of the year it is a real true mixed bag with cod, sea bass, ling, scup and even a weakfish or two. Biggest cod on the week was in the mid-teens.” Party boats sailing for cod this time of year include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com, the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.
Tautog fishing is holding its own. Boat anglers have been able to catch their limit whereas shore anglers are starting to slow down. Capt. Frank Blount said, “We worked close to home on some fresh pieces and found great results. Pool fish between 9-11 pounds on all trips. Limit catches or near limits have been the norm. We have been seeing a lot of cod fish showing up on the grounds as well. High hook on the cod on the blackfish boat has been four.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “We are still selling green crabs. Customers that are fishing are going to the Jamestown and Newport areas fishing from kayaks or boats.” Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill said, “Watch Hill reefs are yielding some nice black fish with shore anglers finding things a bit spotty.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt.