Natural Resources votes to reauthorize Magnuson-Stevens Act

May 31, 2014

In a 24-17 vote, the House Natural Resources approved H.R.4742, amending and reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act through 2018. I support the reauthorization of this landmark law, which has done much to restore sustainable and profitable fisheries throughout our nation. And I welcomed amendments to existing law that would improve data collection and make the regional fishery management councils more accountable by requiring them to broadcast meetings and make documents available to the public on their websites. But in the end I voted against H.R. 4742. It included too many amendments that would reverse years of progress. One amendment, for instance, provided additional “flexibility” in setting the time for rebuilding overfished stocks. Flexibility in this case is just a code word for delay; and delay only harms commercial and subsistence fishers, who rely on having healthy stocks today for their livelihood.