Washington, DC -
02/27/2008 - Statement of Lee Crockett, Director, Federal Fisheries Policy, Pew Environment Group, on the U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card:
The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI), a collaborative effort of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission, released its third annual report card assessing progress on implementing key ocean policy recommendations, which included a C plus grade for fisheries management reform, down from a B plus last year.
While the president personally pledged to end overfishing, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the regional fishery management councils have done little to help him achieve that goal. This low grade by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative for fisheries management reform comes as no surprise. Achieving little progress on ending overfishing is no way for the president to leave a lasting legacy for our oceans.
"Within the next several months, the National Marine Fisheries Service is expected to finally issue two proposed rulemakings that could help end overfishing in the United States. One aims to set catch limits based on best available science, the other attempts to increase public participation in fishery management decisions. These core components of the recently-reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary law that governs our nation's fisheries, need strong backing from the federal government. But, with a C plus for fisheries management reform, down from a B plus last year, the JOCI report card calls into question the administrations commitment to end overfishing.
We're concerned that the federal government will once again allow politics to trump sound management.
For further information, visit the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Web site.