Wicker Highlights Modern Saltwater Fishing Legislation

Miss. Senator’s Proposal in Line With Recent Report on Recreational Fishing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today participated in a congressional hearing to examine the reauthorization of the “Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.”

The hearing is the fourth in a series focused on the state of our nation’s fisheries and the science that supports sustainable management.

Wicker highlighted ways in which his legislation, the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act,” would address many of the recommendations outlined in the Morris-Deal report to create a national policy for saltwater recreational fishing. One of the witnesses praised the legislation saying, “it meshes up quite well [with the report], and I think it addresses those issues we would hope to see addressed in Magnuson.”

The Mississippi Senator also asked the panel about the Gulf Menhaden, which is an important forage fish found in the state. There are proposals to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) to establish a broad “rule of thumb” to manage all forage species according to uniform national standards. Dr. Hilborn responded by saying that the forage fish are best managed on a case-by-case basis that takes into account the unique biological and ecological factors affecting different forage species. Wicker believes these management and scientific decisions should remain at the regional and local levels.

Witnesses at today’s hearing included:

Mr. Karl Haflinger, Founder and President, Sea State, Inc.
Dr. Ray Hilborn, Professor, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Dr. Michael Jones, Professor, Michigan State University Quantitative Fisheries Center
Dr. Larry McKinney, Director, Texas A&M University Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies