Lee Crockett, director of Federal Fisheries Policy at the Pew Environment Group, today issued the following statement in response to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) meeting on proposed rules governing annual catch limits.
“The proposed annual catch limit rule contains a series of steps that could finally end overfishing in U.S. waters. Science-based catch limits, as outlined in the rule, are what our fisheries need to start on the road to recovery.
“With this proposal, the Bush administration is taking positive steps to combat overfishing and hold fisheries managers responsible for allowing overfishing. While the rule is not without its shortcomings, it is a good starting point in the battle to rebuild struggling fish populations.
“By contrast, the National Environmental Policy Act proposed rule that NMFS issued just a few weeks ago does little to conserve marine ecosystems and the struggling fish populations that depend on them. Moreover, it further constrains the public from engaging in key fishery management decisions. If President Bush wants to leave a lasting ocean legacy, he needs to direct NMFS to redo its NEPA proposal.”