The Blog Aquatic » msa http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:33:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Stop Congress from Fishing for Trouble http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/07/31/stop-congress-from-fishing-for-trouble/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/07/31/stop-congress-from-fishing-for-trouble/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:35 +0000 Ellen Bolen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8813

© Wesley Hitt / Alamy

We’ve made incredible progress in reversing overfishing. This has been good for both the environment and jobs in fishing. Through smart fishery legislation, we’ve been able to bring back fish populations that were crashing due to years of overfishing.

But all of our progress is about to be destroyed! In the House of Representatives, Rep. Hastings (R-WA) is working to reverse the very legislation that has brought our ocean and fishermen such success. Rep. Hastings is trying to pass legislation that would create a new law that would allow overfishing and would eliminate deadlines to rebuild fish populations.


We can’t let this happen. Decades of progress will be reversed if this new legislation is passed. Will you help protect our ocean from overfishing?

Please take action today and tell your Congressional Representative to vote NO to Rep. Hastings’ legislation when it comes to the floor.

Healthy fish populations are essential to ocean ecosystems and to the local economies that depend on them. Please take action today! Together, we can truly make a difference.

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Former Bush and Obama Officials Agree: Congress Must Stop Magnuson-Stevens Roll Backs http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/05/09/former-bush-and-obama-officials-agree-congress-must-stop-magnuson-stevens-roll-backs/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/05/09/former-bush-and-obama-officials-agree-congress-must-stop-magnuson-stevens-roll-backs/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 20:25:22 +0000 Ellen Bolen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8258

“Healthy oceans and well-managed fisheries improve coastal economies, enhance recreational fishing opportunities and provide fresh, local seafood to consumers.”

Hard to argue with that logic, right? We need well-managed fisheries to support millions of American jobs, and a healthy ocean environment. We have legislation in the United States, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) that does an excellent job of managing our fisheries for people and the environment. This is why it’s surprising that there are some members of Congress who are trying to roll back key components of the MSA. Two former Assistant Administrators in charge of Fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took to Roll Call this week to argue that the MSA needs to remain strong. It’s hard to argue with their logic.  Dr. Hogarth served under President Bush from 2001 – 2007.  Mr. Schwaab held the same position under President Obama from 2010 – 2012.

Read their full article here.

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The House Draft Fisheries Bill Doesn’t Add Up http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/02/27/the-house-draft-fisheries-bill-doesnt-add-up/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/02/27/the-house-draft-fisheries-bill-doesnt-add-up/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 14:00:37 +0000 Ellen Bolen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7583

Photo: Sara Thomas

In elementary school, we learned through basic math that 1 + 1 = 2 and 2 x 2 = 4. As we grew up, math became more complicated with different variables and formulas, but we always knew that 1 + 1 = 2 and 2 x 2 = 4. Fisheries math is not all that different.

Each year, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use fishery math and science to determine how many fish can be removed from fisheries in a sustainable manner, and the number of fish that can be removed is called the annual catch limit (ACL). If species fall below a level that is sustainable, managers put in a rebuilding plan – a roadmap to rebuild the stock to a healthy level.

Counting fish clearly isn’t nearly as easy as Dr. Seuss made it out to be (one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish), but the simple equation of “science-based annual catch limits + adequate rebuilding timelines = healthy and sustainable fisheries” is generally accepted among members of the fishing community. No matter which way we frame it, science-based catch limits and adequate rebuilding timelines are key components to keep our fisheries healthy and the fishing industry in business.

But this equation is in jeopardy, and so are fish populations.

On Friday, Feb. 28, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the primary law governing our nation’s fisheries. A draft bill proposed by Chairman Doc Hastings, however, would alter the formula that we know is working for our fisheries.

The Hastings proposal would subtract out some of the science-based provisions that have led to success on the water while adding in several exemptions to promote short-term economic gains. This equation does not equal success for our fisheries, coastal communities or the long-term viability of the fishing industry.

Overall, the reauthorization of the MSA + the Hastings language = The Empty Oceans Act.

Some may think that this equation is a bold statement, but all you have to do is look at the numbers in the draft language to realize that it’s true:

  • 5 – The number of years the draft bill would allow overfishing to occur
  • 3 – The number of fisheries that are exempted from applying ACLs
  • 4 –  The number of other environmental laws that are affected by Chairman Hastings’ draft by placing the interests of the fishing industry over those of endangered species, sensitive habitat and the environment
  • 5 – Exemptions to the successful rebuilding provisions in the House draft bill that regional fisheries management councils can use to delay rebuilding
  • 7 – The number of types of data – collected with taxpayer dollars on a public resource – not available to the public
  • 30 – The number of pages of Chairman Hastings’ draft bill it took to roll back almost 20 years of progress, including:
    • 32 fish stocks that have been fully rebuilt due to the reauthorization provisions in current law
    • 20 fish stocks that are no longer experiencing overfishing since 2007 due to science-based ACLs, a cornerstone of sustainable fisheries
    • 0 – The number of ways the draft bill builds upon the successful formula for sustainable fisheries and improves fisheries management

These numbers just don’t add up to successful and sustainable fisheries. These numbers add up to depleted fisheries and long-term economic consequences for fishermen and coastal communities. We don’t need to subtract from the law. We need to add provisions to help us manage fisheries in a dynamic and changing ocean.

All these numbers add up to are empty nets.

Take action and tell your members of Congress to reject the proposed language drafted by Hastings in order to protect our nation’s fisheries.

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10 Key Facts About Red Snapper http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/20/10-key-facts-about-red-snapper/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/20/10-key-facts-about-red-snapper/#comments Mon, 20 May 2013 20:30:01 +0000 Ellen Bolen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5734

Red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) are one of the Gulf of Mexico’s signature fish.  They are extremely popular among recreational fishermen and a prized offering at restaurants and seafood markets, as well as a top predator in the Gulf ecosystem. Recently there has been a great deal of debate about the health and management of this important fish. Ocean Conservancy, along with Pew Charitable Trusts, has released a report about the law that is saving American fisheries, including red snapper. Here are few handy facts about this iconic fish:

  1. Red snapper can grow to about 40 inches, weigh up to 50 pounds and live more than 50 years.
  2. Red snapper begin to reproduce when they are about two years old, spawning from May to October along rocky ledges or coral reefs.
  3. Fertilized eggs float on the surface and hatch within a day. Only a month later, the young fish settle out of the water column in shallow waters, and as they get older, they move to structured habitat where they will mature and eventually move to the deeper waters of the Gulf.
  4. Bigger, older red snappers produce many more eggs than young ones. One 24-inch female red snapper (about 8 years old) produces as many fish as 212 17-inch females (about 5 years old) Most red snapper caught in the Gulf today are only between four and six years old.
  5. Economically, red snapper are among the most valuable fish in the Gulf. In 2011, commercial fishermen from the five Gulf states landed more than 3.2 million pounds of red snapper, sold dockside for $11.5 million.
  6. They are also tasty! There are more than one million recipes for red snapper online.
  7. Sport fishermen love to pursue them as well. In 2011, 3.1 million recreational anglers took more than 22 million fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico targeting red snapper and other species. These fishing trips are a boon to the local economy.
  8. Red snapper have been severely overfished in the Gulf but are now on their way back. The Gulf snapper population reached its low point the late 1980s, but since then science based and effective management and favorable conditions for reproduction have put the red snapper on the road to recovery. Since 2009 catch limits for snapper have steadily increased.
  9. There is a science-based plan in place to rebuild red snapper to healthier levels. It is working but will take time. If implemented properly, management agencies hope to restore the population to sustainable levels by 2032.
  10. This is the tough part. The population is recovering so people are seeing more and bigger fish in the water and in places they haven’t been seen in decades, making the fish easier to catch. This leads to higher catch rates and more fish being removed during a typical day of open recreational season for red snapper. Science-based limits critical to the successes we’ve seen are thus get reached faster resulting in shorter recreational fishing seasons.  This has been compared to taking antibiotics when you are sick—you’ll start to feel better in a few days, but if you stop taking the medicine too soon you run the risk of undoing the progress you’ve made and could get sick again.

Read the story of red snapper from a fisherman’s perspective in our new report.  And here is an update on policy affecting red snapper in the Gulf.

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One Fish, Two Fish, More Fish, More Fish: US Seafood Landings Reach 17 Year High – Now Updated With More Fish!! http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/28/one-fish-two-fish-more-fish-more-fish-us-seafood-landings-reach-17-year-high/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/28/one-fish-two-fish-more-fish-more-fish-us-seafood-landings-reach-17-year-high/#comments Fri, 28 Sep 2012 14:00:41 +0000 Libby Fetherston http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3031

Credit: brockamer flickr stream

 

UPDATED (September 28, 2012): Like Dr. Seuss says “Say! What a lot of fish there are.” But while there are many fish in the sea, there used to be more! A new study in the journal Science says global fisheries are in decline, but recovery is possible with the right management tools. For the first time, researchers spearheaded by California Environmental Associates took a good look at the world’s nearly 10,000 fishing areas. Only 20% of these areas are managed, leaving the rest with no management or oversight. Researchers suggest that with the right management tools, fisheries currently in decline could reach sustainable levels in only a few short years. This could increase the amount of fish in the ocean by 56%. Dr. Seuss would surely have been proud to protect his old fish and new fish.

ORIGINAL POST (September 20, 2012): US seafood landings have reached a 17-year high, according to a NOAA’s fisheries report that provides a snapshot of the amount of fish brought back to the docks in 2011. Higher fish landings show the Nation’s fisheries conservation and management law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) is working to end overfishing and restore depleted fish populations. This progress means more opportunities for families to enjoy fishing as recreation and fresh seafood, and greater prosperity for the fishing industry.

This encouraging report shows success in fisheries management through MSA is attributed to addressing the problem of overfishing. But, we can’t afford to stop now.  NOAA’s report says “U.S. fishermen and businesses have played a critical role in this monumental achievement and the stewardship practices that have come to define U.S. fisheries.” Working together to successfully implement MSA is creating sustainable fisheries, greater economic returns and positioning the U.S. system as a global model.

While the report shows increases in fish landings along the Gulf Coast, we must remember that we are still learning about the impacts of the BP oil disaster. Long-term monitoring and research must be implemented to take the pulse of the Gulf in order to ensure a full recovery of all of the Gulf’s resources. You can read more about Ocean Conservancy’s new Menu for Marine Restoration that provides a road map to securing sustainable fisheries and provides a list of priorities for reversing the damage from the BP oil disaster and past environmental degradation in offshore areas to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the Gulf of Mexico. But in the meantime, enjoy some fresh Gulf shrimp or New England winter flounder. It’s working.

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A Jellyfish Sandwich? No Thanks! Stopping Overfishing to Prevent the End of Fish http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/26/a-jellyfish-sandwich-no-thanks-stopping-overfishing-to-prevent-the-end-of-fish/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/26/a-jellyfish-sandwich-no-thanks-stopping-overfishing-to-prevent-the-end-of-fish/#comments Wed, 26 Sep 2012 18:06:44 +0000 Libby Fetherston http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3108

© alles-schlumpf

I don’t like to see red on a map. It usually means something bad: a hurricane warning, the decline of Arctic sea ice, or as this map shows, the amount of overfishing in 1950 and 2006. Did you click on that overfishing link and check it out? Pretty red right?

Overfishing is bad for fishermen who want to enjoy fishing today, tomorrow, and years from now. Without stable fish populations, there will be shorter or nonexistent fishing seasons – a huge blow to recreational and commercial fishing and the jobs/industry they support. If we don’t end overfishing, then, like Washington Post reporter Brad Plumer says, it’ll be “lumpy jellyfish sandwiches for everyone.”

The good news is that we have, and can continue, to erase the red from that 2006 map. And according to a NOAA’s fisheries report that provides a snapshot of the amount of fish brought back to the docks in 2011, US seafood landings have reached a 17-year high. Some of the success of ending overfishing is because the Nation’s fisheries conservation and management law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) is working and is increasing the size and number of fish in the ocean.

We still have a long way to go here in the Gulf of Mexico where I live, and we must remember that we are still learning about the impacts of the BP oil disaster. Long-term monitoring and research must be implemented to take the pulse of the Gulf in order to ensure full recovery of all of the Gulf’s resources. (You can read more about Ocean Conservancy’s new Menu for Marine Restoration that provides a road map to securing sustainable fisheries.)

And even though we still have a long way to go, we are showing signs of much-needed success, so let’s not put “lumpy jellyfish” on the menu just yet.

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