National Association of Charterboat Operators

Louisiana Private Rec - Red Snapper Allocation

If y’all have not heard, the State of LA is seeking approval of an Exempted Fishing Permit to test a catch share plan for pri rec anglers.  A strong rumor has it that EDF helped develop, if not totally developed the proposal for LA.  Pretty much every rec org has come out opposed.  If this efp is allowed to proceed it could be devastating to the recreational sector as a whole.  I sent the below to the Gulf Council as they will be discussing this next week at their meeting.  The RA for the NMFS Sero, Dr Crabtree can approve the efp regardless of any opposition.  I will keep all posted on the outcome.

I will be sending a similar letter to the SOC in a few days.


On behalf of the members of the Panama City Boatmen Association (PCBA) and the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) I want to express our extreme opposition to the proposed EFP presented by the State of Louisiana.  This proposal is an effort to explore a recreational catch share system, which the vast majority of all recreational anglers are adamantly opposed.  This proposed EFP does not even attempt to properly address a true catch share system.

This proposal provides for a lottery to select 150 private recreational boat owners to participate in the program which will provide 25,000 pounds of the LA recreational projected annual harvest of 14% (1.098 million pounds) of the total Gulf recreational harvest.  The 14% number was developed in the Council rejected proposed amendment 39.  A key problem with LA using this number for the EFP that is restricted to private recreational anglers is the 14% includes all recreational anglers which includes charter/headboat for hire recreational anglers.  The 25,000 pounds projected to be gifted to the 150 lottery winners will come out of the total recreational fishery.  The charter/headboat for hire fishermen will not be eligible to participate but will lose access to 25,000 pounds of available red snapper.  This proposal discriminates against LA charter/headboat for hire vessel owners.

In addition, the proposal will allow the 150 participants to fish under the LA state recreational red snapper season and be gifted approximately 20 red snapper +/- outside the state season.  Other than gifting 20 red snapper +/- how will this EFP prove that anglers will support and the fishery can be better managed under the proposal?  Frankly, anyone would support being able to land more fish than allowed under a state season, an EFP is not necessary to prove such a concept.

The use of a lottery to select 150 lucky participants only differs from having to pay for the right to have red snapper gifted exclusively by the fact the fish are provided without compensation.  Use of a lottery, by definition, allows only those individuals fortunate enough to win.  If such a system were to ultimately be the mechanism to select the lucky individuals those who are not selected will lose access to the fishery and have no opportunity to harvest red snapper.  This type of management is only to reduce fishing capacity and will cause much social and economic harm to the many small family businesses who support recreational fishing activities.  In addition it will be socially and economically destructive to the small local fishing communities in LA and eventually to the rest of the Gulf and the Nation.  This proposal is contrary to the current goals of the Trump Administration which is to promote business opportunities and to eliminate regulatory restrictions.

Another reason this proposal is unrealistic and should be denied is the math of the fishery.  LA proposes to provide 20 +/- red snapper to each of the 150 participants using only 25,000 pounds.  This equates to an average size of 8 + pounds per red snapper.  According to LA officials I have spoken to there are 15,000 to 20,000 LA offshore anglers licensed to fish off LA.  Using the 1,098,000 million pounds that are projected for the LA allocation under A39 and should the proposed EFP become the program for LA anglers and assuming the number is 17,500 (the middle of 15,000 to 20,000), and all anglers would be provided a share, it would amount to approximately 8 red snapper per angler, less than half of those provided for in the EFP.  Under a lottery system, in order to increase the number of red snapper to be close to 20 per angler, more than half of all LA offshore anglers would be eliminated from the fishery.  While this may be the ultimate goal of the proposed EFP to reduce the number of anglers able to fish, it is not fair and will work to destroy the recreational fishery in LA, the Gulf, and eventually the Nation.

This proposal is not necessary to achieve the stated goals of the plan.  There are many other less destructive ways to improve real time data collection without eliminating participants.  Flexibility for anglers fishing time is restricted to a predetermined number of anglers selected by state managers.  The rest of the anglers are eliminated.  The simple fact is if you want to provide more flexibility to anglers in order to fish whenever they want, eliminate more than half and the rest will certainly be able to fish whenever.  There are also other, less destructive  means to provide fishery managers with real time harvest data.

This proposed EFP is ill-conceived and only serves to prove what is known, eliminate anglers and those few that are left will have unlimited access to the fishery.  This proposed EFP must be rejected.


Capt. Bob Zales, II




I and many others will not be in attendance for the Council meeting beginning on Monday since we will be fishing for red snapper for the short 49 day season.  The above is my testimony that would be stated if I was there.

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Proposed Limited Entry on Charter For-hire Vessel Permits

From: Bob Zales 2 [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2016 10:53 AM
To: 'Gregg Waugh'
Cc: 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'; 'McCawley, Jessica'; 'Roy Crabtree - NOAA Federal'; 'nick wiley'; 'Bademan, Martha'; 'Doug Gregory'
Subject: proposed limited entry on charter for hire vessel permits
Importance: High


I am President of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) and we represent for hire charter boat owners and operators from Alaska to Maine including Hawaii, the Great Lakes, and Caribbean Territories.  Many of you know me and the rest have heard of me and my over 26 years of active involvement in the fishery management process on all levels.  For anyone who does not know of my history here is a brief recap.

I was the charter boat representative working with the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and helped develop the current “For Hire Survey” which was and is a dramatic improvement on how for hire recreational data is collected in the Gulf and South Atlantic.  I served on the working group that developed the current guidelines to build and place artificial reefs.  I was among the first 30 appointees to the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee where I served as Vice Chair during my last two years on the Committee.  We developed the original “Framework for the National System of MPAs of the United States of America”.  One of the most important panels I served was as Chairman of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Ad Hoc Charter/Headboat Moratorium Advisory Panel.  Our recommendation for the current for hire charter/headboat limited entry program in the Gulf was the foundation of the current Gulf Moratorium on charter/headboat permits.

NACO has been and currently remains adamantly opposed to charter/headboat limited entry programs.  Our position was developed and has been reinforced several times since 2010.  I and others were first recruited by Drs. Hogarth and Crabtree in late 1999 to recruit and garner support for a limited entry program for charter and headboats in the Gulf in order to, in their words, “be able to maintain a 6 month season and 4 fish bag limit for recreational red snapper.”  They also told us that by creating a limited entry program we would not be reducing capacity, we would only cap capacity and this would ensure that our 6 month season and bag limit would be secure.  We were promised that the program would work to the benefit of the recreational sector as capping the number of charter and headboats would prevent expanding the fleet and prevent over harvesting.

The AP members worked hard to convince for hire vessel owners that the NMFS program would be good for them, even if they did not fish for red snapper as many for hire vessel owners and operators did not catch red snapper at that time as other reef fish were their targets.  After the Ad Hoc AP finished our work the council developed the current moratorium program.  Once the program was finally enacted, it was delayed due to NMFS mistakes, it was not long before many of us realized we had been duped, lied too!  The moratorium and capping of available permits did not work to maintain our season, indeed in 2007 we were restricted to 4 months and have seen a steady decline in the number of available days since with a reduction in the bag limit from 4 fish to 2.  The limited entry program has resulted in an additional stock market for fisheries along with IFQs as permits are traded back and forth for profit.   

Shortly after the moratorium program was implemented and I began to see how we were grossly misled and the program was working to eliminate for hire vessel owners from the industry I admitted  my mistake of advocating and support.  Working to develop the moratorium has turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes I have made in my fishery management activities.  This is why I fully support the NACO decision to oppose any form of limited entry and catch share program for recreational for hire charter and headboats.  The SAFMC will do a great service to the recreational for hire charter and headboats in their region and others by voting for status quo on proposed amendments 45, 31, and 11 and oppose limited entry.  Limited entry in the recreational for hire industry will only serve to destroy the for hire vessel industry and will work to eliminate access and opportunity for the many people who utilize recreational for hire vessels to recreationally fish. 

NACO strongly encourages you to OPPOSE any form of limited entry.

Thank you,

Capt Bob Zales, II



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2014 Regional Fishery Council Appointments

U.S. Commerce Department Announces 

2014 Regional Fishery Council Appointments

June 26, 2014  -- The following was released by NOAA:

The U.S. Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 22 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA's Fisheries Service to manage ocean fish stocks. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11.

The councils were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to prepare fishery management plans for marine fish stocks in their regions. NOAA's Fisheries Service works closely with the councils as plans are developed, and then reviews, approves, and implements the fishery management plans. Council members represent diverse groups, including commercial and recreational fishing industries, environmental organizations and academia, and they carry out the act's requirements to end overfishing, rebuild fish stocks, and manage them sustainably.

"All of us at NOAA Fisheries are eager to start working with our new council members, and to continue the work we've been doing with returning members," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. "The partnerships we have with the councils are more important than ever in order to continue the positive momentum we've been making with federally managed species in recent years."

Each year, approximately one-third of the total 72 appointed members to the eight regional councils are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary selects members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments.

Council members are appointed to both obligatory (state-specific) and at-large (regional) seats. Council members serve a three-year term and can be reappointed to serve three consecutive terms.Asterisks preceding a member's name indicate a reappointment. 

New England Council

The New England Council includes members from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The appointees for 2014 will fill four at-large seats.

At-large seats:

*Thomas D. Dempsey (Massachusetts)

Elizabeth "Libby" M. P. Etrie (Massachusetts)

*Peter T. Kendall (New Hampshire)

*Mary Beth Nickell-Tooley (Maine)


Mid-Atlantic Council

The Mid-Atlantic Council includes members from the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The appointees for 2014 will fill obligatory seats for Maryland, North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania and one at-large seat.


Obligatory seats:

*G.(George) W. Elliott (Pennsylvania)

*Francis "Dewey" Hemilright, Jr. (North Carolina)

*Howard J. King, III (Maryland)

*John G. McMurray (New York)


At-large seat:

*Laurie A. Nolan (New York)


South Atlantic Council

The South Atlantic Council includes members from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The appointees for 2014 will fill two at-large seats.


At-large seats:

William "Chester" Brewer, Jr. (Florida)

Mark E. Brown (South Carolina)


Caribbean Council

The Caribbean Council includes members from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The appointee for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Puerto Rico.


Obligatory seat:

Marcos R. Hanke (Puerto Rico)


Gulf Council

The Gulf Council includes members from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The appointees for 2014 will fill three at-large seats.


At-large seats:

*Pamela J. Dana (Florida)

Gregory W. Stunz (Texas)

David A. Walker (Alabama)


Pacific Council

The Pacific Council includes members from California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The appointees for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Washington and one at-large seat.


Obligatory seat:

*Richard "Rich" H. Lincoln (Washington)


At-large seat:

*Jeffrey "Jeff" N. Feldner (Oregon)


North Pacific Council

The North Pacific Council includes members from Alaska and Washington. The appointees for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Alaska and an obligatory seat for Washington.


Obligatory seats:

*John J. Henderschedt (Washington)

Simon Kinneen (Alaska)


Western Pacific Council

The Western Pacific Council includes members from American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The appointees for 2014 will fill an obligatory seat for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and two at-large seats.


Obligatory seat:

John E. Gourley (Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands)

At-large seats:

*Edwin "Ed" A. Ebisui, Jr. (Hawaii)

*Frederick M. Rice (Hawaii)

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Info Alerts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II took a leading role today in the House Natural Resources Committee’s approval of legislation reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law governing America’s fisheries. The committee approved on a bipartisan basis five Southerland amendments injecting common sense into fishery data collection and fishery disaster declarations.

“Today’s votes in committee were the first step in ensuring our fishermen have a voice in establishing any new catch share programs, while addressing inflexibility in rebuilding plans and moving us closer to a data collection solution,” said Southerland. “At a time when our coastal communities are suffering due to flawed fishery management based on inadequate science, I am pleased this bill puts us on a path to a more common sense approach that addresses the problems we currently face in the Gulf of Mexico. I look forward to ensuring our fishermen’s interests are addressed as I work with members of both parties to pass a Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization in the House this year.”

The Southerland provisions approved by the committee would:

• Direct the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to issue a fishery disaster determination within 90 days of receiving a request;

• Ensure that the tens of thousands of red snapper killed by rig removal explosions, also known as “Idle Iron,” are not counted against the annual catch limit for Gulf fishermen;

• Ensure that red snapper confiscated from illegal foreign poachers are not counted against the total allowable catch for American fishermen;

• Prohibit the harvest rights of fish allocated for public consumption to be traded away from the commercial sector by sale or lease.



Nominations sought for open positions on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. Nominations accepted through July 7, 2014.

(May 23, 2014)  The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce.  The Committee draws on its members’ expertise and other sources to evaluate and make recommendations to the Secretary and NOAA on the development and implementation of Department regulations, policies, and programs critical to the mission and goals of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  

MAFAC members represent a wide spectrum of fisheries, protected resources, and marine habitat interests; environmental, academic, tribal, consumer, and other related national interests.  Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in a field related to the management of living marine resources and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for two annual meetings and between-meeting subcommittee work.  Individuals serve for a term of three years for no more than two consecutive terms, if re-appointed. 

The committee functions solely as an advisory body (complying fully with the Federal Advisory Committee Act) who reports to the Secretary.

Full nomination instructions and guidelines are detailed in the Federal Register notice

For more information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MAFAC current schedule of known in-person outreach events, CLICK HERE   This will be updated as new events are added or specific dates are identified.  If there is a meeting near you, PLEASE do your best to attend, and have folks from your community attend.

In addition to the in-person events list review the quick fact sheet. CLICK HERE  that you should feel free to share, and last but not least, the website! MAFAC will be accepting online comment soon, but for now the website is the place to find everything you may want to know about their process, including info for a few webinars.

NOPC Update
I. Mid-Atlantic RPB Approves Ocean Planning Framework, Charts Next Moves
 Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) convened in Baltimore, MD last week for its second in-person meeting
The RPB approved a
 regional ocean planning framework, talked about next steps to carry out the goals and objectives identified in the approved framework, received briefings on and discussed energy, habitat, and navigation-related activities in the Mid-Atlantic, and heard public comments (see summaries below, and meeting presentations are available here).  The RPB noted that some things not reflected in the approved framework could still be incorporated going forward.

II. NOAA Regulations for New Sanctuary Nomination Process Expected In June
 Unified Agenda released by the White House Office of Management and Budgetlast week projects that NOAA will take final action in June to re-establish the national marine sanctuary nomination process.

III. Infrastructure Bill Includes Resiliency Provision, Excludes Ocean Endowment
Following six months of congressional negotiations that culminated with the
announcement of a conference agreement earlier this month, the U.S. House andSenate last week passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.

IV. NOAA Seeks To Fill Vacancies On 8 Nat’l. Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries earlier this month
 announced that it is seeking applications for vacancies on 8 national marine sanctuary advisory councils.

V. NOAA Seeks Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee Applications 
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) last week
 announced that it is seeking applications to fill upcoming vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) beginning in fall 2014.  Nominations are due by Monday, July 7, 2014
Please read the complete NOPC Update by Clicking Here

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Notice: Lead Sinker Ban Issue

NOTICE of ISSUE: Lead Sinker Ban
"I have seen references to your organization’s previous opposition to proposals to ban use of lead fishing tackle.
The Interior Appropriation bill previously included a prohibition on this proposed regulation, however, the FY 20 House Interior Appropriations bill excluded this language and would allow the federal government to ban lead fishing tackle. While such a ban or regulation may not move forward immediately, it will be more difficult to reinstitute the protective language if it is removed in the final funding bill later this year.
If you have a position or statement relevant to this issue please let me know.
Thank you.
John Dutton
Office of rep. harris"
“All, John Dutton with Rep Andy Harris’s office has requested letters from your respective assns, supporting keeping language in legislation that will continue to allow the use of lead sinkers, jigs, and other fishing tackle when fishing. Apparently the language that protects being able to continue to use lead products has been removed from proposed legislation and there could be another move to ban the use of lead products while fishing. This was an issue back in 2010 and NACO, the MD Charter Assn and others were successful in having legislation passed that protected the use of lead products. Feel free to use any or all of the content from the attached NACO letter.
Capt Bob Zales, II “
Click the following link to download NACO's comment letter: Lead sinker Ban

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Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy

NACO is pleased to announce that today President Trump issued an Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, which includes a revocation of the 2010 National Ocean Policy Executive Order issued by then President Obama.

President Capt. Bob Zales, II stated; “In the Gulf, as well as all areas of the country, in recent years recreational and commercial fishermen have been over-regulated and negatively impacted in every arena.  The National Ocean Policy was an unforced error created by a stroke of the pen that added to those burdens by needlessly draining resources and energy away from what our industries should and need to be focused on, which is generating economic activity and providing recreational and commercial opportunities and enjoyment of our natural resources, all under the oversight of responsible regulation as authorized by Congress. 

By taking this action, the President has removed a significant threat to the survival of our industry -- the potential for new and expanded regulatory requirements, more regulatory burdens, and increased costs to our businesses as a result of the National Ocean Policy -- while focusing on priorities that will pave the way for a more prosperous future and ocean economy.”

To Read the Executive Order please Click Here

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NACO-USCG_Serious Marine Incident & Reportable Marine Casualty

NACO has been involved in working with the USCG to modify the current reporting requirements for anyone involved in a reportable marine casualty property damage incident and the changes in serious marine Incident (SMI) property damage threshold.  The current financial requirements for reporting a marine casualty damage incident is only $25,000 and the financial threshold is $100,000.  These figures were established years ago.  In addition, the crew involved in a SMI is also subject to immediate drug and alcohol testing.

This new rule will take effect on April 18, 2018.  It modifies the financial requirements from $25,000 to $75,000 in property damages and from $100,000 to $200,000 in the threshold.  These new figures represent the increases in inflation since the original figures were established.  What this rule does is reduce the reportable accidents which reduces the potential burden on all passenger vessels and will also reduce the potential for mandatory drug and alcohol testing of the crews involved in such accidents.  NACO has worked with other passenger vessel associations and the USCG to have this new rule implemented.

This is just one more in a long history of benefits that NACO provides our members.  This rule will reduce the regulatory burden and potential expense for all passenger carrying vessels.

Here is the Federal Register notice.

Capt. Bob Zales, II


Capt. Bob Zales, II

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NACO goes to Ohio

Captains Bob Zales, II, Mike Schoonveld, representing NACO & Gallagher Charter Lakes Mark VanEpps
at the OHIO Charter Boat Captains Conference March 10th - had a great turn-out even with the colder weather.

IMG 3752

IMG 3750


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Modern Fish Act Takes Major Step Toward Becoming Law

To All Media
Sara Leonard
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
202-543-6850 x 11
Modern Fish Act Takes Major Step Toward Becoming Law

The Senate Commerce Committee Passes Landmark Legislation with Bipartisan Support
February 28, 2018 (Washington, DC) - Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation overwhelmingly approved S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act). This legislation calls for critically important updates to the oversight of federal fisheries, including adding more tools to the management toolbox, improving data collection techniques, and examining some fishery allocations that are based on decades-old decisions.
The Modern Fish Act was introduced in the Senate in July 2017 by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). It has since received strong bipartisan support from 12 cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. In addition, a broad coalition of organizations representing the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community has endorsed the Modern Fish Act and highlighted the importance of updating the nation's fisheries management system to more accurately distinguish between recreational and commercial fishing.
"The bipartisan leadership on display today in the Senate Commerce Committee will not soon be forgotten by America's 11 million saltwater recreational anglers," said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. "We want to thank our many champions in Congress, particularly Sens. Wicker and Nelson, for recognizing the need for serious reforms to the broken federal fisheries management system. We look forward to working with congressional leaders in both chambers to get this legislation across the finish line."
Through years of deliberation, the priorities of the recreational fishing and boating community were identified and presented to federal policy makers by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management. This group is also referred to as the Morris-Deal Commission, named for co-chairs Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boat Group. In 2014, the Morris-Deal Commission released "A Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries," which included six key policy changes to expand saltwater recreational fishing's social, economic and conservation benefits to the nation.
Many recommendations of the Morris-Deal Commission are addressed by the legislation passed today by the Senate Commerce Committee.
"Today's action by the Commerce Committee is further evidence that Congress recognizes the economic and societal impact that recreational saltwater fishing has on our nation," said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. "There are 11 million saltwater anglers in the U.S. who have a $63 billion economic impact annually and generate 440,000 jobs. We applaud the Senate Commerce Committee for taking this important step and call for the full Senate to quickly take action on this legislation."
"For too long, the federal fisheries management system has limited access for America's recreational anglers and boaters due to faulty data and misguided regulations, which in turn has jeopardized the economic vitality of the recreational boating industry," said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. "On behalf of the estimated 650,000 workers the recreational boating industry supports, we are eager to continue working with our allies in both chambers of Congress to get this important legislation to the president's desk."
"The bipartisan vote taken by the Senate Commerce Committee today demonstrates the nation's broad support for federal fisheries management reform," said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. "We are proud to work with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advance a common-sense policy that remains true to our conservation goals while promoting access to our nation's healthy natural resources. We look forward to this important bill receiving quick consideration by the full Senate."
"We thank Chairman Thune and Sens. Wicker and Nelson, as well as the large bipartisan group of Modern Fish Act cosponsors, for their leadership on this issue," said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "The Modern Fish Act is a top priority for saltwater anglers across the United States and charts a clear course for effective recreational fisheries management.  I encourage Congress to use the momentum from today's Committee vote to secure quick passage in both chambers."
"The Modern Fish Act represents five years' worth of input from our community and will increase the level of trust between America's 11 million saltwater anglers and federal fisheries managers," said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. "Recreational hunters and anglers have been at the forefront of resource conservation in this country for more than a century, and the Modern Fish Act gives recreational anglers an opportunity to continue to lead in conservation by improving upon data collection and stock assessments. We're extremely encouraged to see these updated management approaches tailored to meet the unique needs of recreational fishing, rather than forcing recreational seasons into a management scheme designed for commercial fisheries."
"We owe great thanks to Senator Wicker for introducing the Modern Fish Act to finally address the specific needs of recreational anglers under federal law," said Jim Donofrio, president of the Recreational Fishing Alliance. "We want to thank Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson for their leadership in bringing this important bill to a vote in the Commerce Committee today. The bipartisan spirit we are witnessing in this Committee is refreshing, and we look forward to final action by the full Senate and House."
On December 13, 2017, the Modern Fish Act (H.R. 2023) was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of H.R. 200. 
Following today's vote, the coalition encourages Senate leadership to quickly bring S. 1520 to the floor for final passage. Marine recreational anglers and boaters are eager to see this landmark legislation move through the House and Senate and signed into law.

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