Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy for the Pew Environment Group, and Holly Binns, manager of Pew's Campaign to End Overfishing in the Southeast, issued this joint statement today on Senator Bill Nelson's (D-Fla.) legislation to weaken a key federal fishery law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and delay plans to end overfishing and rebuild the severely depleted South Atlantic red snapper.
The statement of Lee Crockett:
“This bill will undermine the nation's commitment to restore depleted ocean fish populations. The federal government has been required to end overfishing since 1976, but has failed to do so. The result has been predictable: chronically overexploited fish stocks and decimated fisheries. Finally, in 2006 Congress put a stop to the delays and weak rules that put our fish populations in jeopardy and passed a clear, unequivocal requirement to end overfishing. Now, just as those requirements are going into effect on the water, this legislation would turn back the clock. If enacted, it could set recreational and commercial fishing throughout the nation on an unsustainable path by threatening the long-term health of the fish on which they depend.”
The statement of Holly Binns:
“This legislation could stall a lot of carefully crafted plans to rebuild imperiled fish populations in the southeast, including South Atlantic red snapper. It would allow overfishing of one of the region's most severely depleted species to continue for another five years.
“This bill undermines the plan that federal fishery managers approved in June to put this species on the road to recovery. Red snapper are at 3 percent of healthy population levels and they may not survive without the protections scientists recommended. The red snapper recovery is on the right track, but this could deliver a serious setback.”