Modern Fish Act Takes Major Step Toward Becoming Law

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Sara Leonard
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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.

Overfishing: Magnuson-Stevens Act

So that everyone has a better understanding of how the enviro groups such as pew, Oceana, environmental defense fund, and the edf puppet commercial and charter fishing assns are controlling our nations fisheries and putting fishermen, local fish houses, and supporting businesses out of business as well as adversely affecting local fishing communities here is an excellent article by Nils Stolpe that explains a lot. Everyone should encourage their respective Congressmen and Women to fully support HR 200 today. This bill will help fix the what the enviros work so hard to destroy.  HR200 will add the flexibility we have sought for so many years to the MSA.  

Everyone needs to support these bills.


I was given permission to share this info.  Please share.

The Magnuson-Stevens amendment I want under the Christmas tree

Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

© 2018  Nils E. Stolpe

February 23, 2018

OVERFISHING! This has become one of the oceans branch of the doom and gloom prognisticator’s (aka Environmental Non Governmental Organizations or ENGOs) principal calls for alms. To wit, they have collectively raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from big business-supported foundations and trusting members of the public to persecute (generally commercial) fishermen who they preach are the cause of “overfishing,” the major threat to the sanctity of the oceans. (I’ll note here that the Pew “Charitable” Trusts was the multibillion dollar foundation that initiated the war on fishermen. The Trusts were and are controlled by the family of the founder of Sun Oil/Sunoco, Joseph Pew. Oceana, which has received $63 million from the Pew Trusts, is the ENGO that was among the first to persecute traditional fishermen. Oceana was spawned by Earthjustice, which has received at least $23 million from Pew. Pew has also funded various commercial fishing groups to the tune of millions of dollars to support various Pew priorities (see and for some early history of Pew’s entry into fishing. Other industry-influenced mega-foundations have followed in Pew’s footsteps – I’ve listed the foundations and their level of funding of ENGOs that were and are involved in destroying the traditional domestic fishing industry up until 2010 at ).

Obviously overfishing means catching too many fish, catching so many that a population of fish can’t replace itself (a population that is replacing itself is “sustainable.”).

But in actual fact there are a myriad of reasons why a stock of fish might not be able to replace itself, with overfishing being only one of these reasons. Changing ocean temperatures, oceanic/climatic oscillations (think El Niño and La Niña or the Atlantic Multidecadel Oscillation), the proliferation of electromagnetic fields from undersea electrical or data transmission cables, un- or inadequately controlled coastal development, natural or anthropogenic pollution, or any number of other factors, singularly or in combination, might well be preventing particular fish stocks from being capable of sustaining themselves. But adequate research on the effects of these other factors isn’t being done because now all the blame falls on “overfishing.”

Chances are that those ENGOs that have raised so many millions of dollars, gotten a tremendous amount of media attention, and convinced a significant part of both the national and international seafood markets that sustainable harvesting of fish and shellfish is only possible by controlling fishing would rather that the other factors affecting seafood sustainability be kept far beneath the public’s and the pol’s attention threshold. Ditto for the mega-industries that support them and are often responsible for non-fishing factors that negatively impact seafood sustainability. It’s to their vast benefit to keep the focus on “overfishing,” because then it isn’t on what they’re doing.

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal legislation that controls just about all of the aspects of fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone was originally written in 1975-76 it contained the terms “overfishing” or “overfished” a total of seven times.

When the Act was reauthorized in 1996 as the Sustainable Fisheries Act, thanks to ENGO pressure “overfishing” or “overfished” were used 36 times. From the Definitions section “The terms ‘overfishing’ and ‘overfished’ mean a rate or level of fishing mortality that jeopardizes the capacity of a fishery to produce the maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis.”

Thanks to the efforts of the ENGOs, the corporations (or the corporate heirs) that control them through massive donations to a network of “charitable” foundations and a few fishermen’s organizations that they fund, “overfishing” was well on its way to becoming the primary sin being committed on the 72% of the Earth that is covered by salt water.

This purposeful misuse of the term “overfishing” has been one of the most subtle and most effective weapons in the anti-fishing activists’ arsenal.

In order to change this, to insure that non-fishing factors that negatively impact fish stocks are properly identified, in Congressman Don Young’s H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, fish and shellfish stocks whose sustainability is being threatened by fishing will still be identified as overfished but those whose sustainability is threatened by non-fishing factors will be labelled as depleted.

This will have the joint benefits of allowing (if possible) measures to be taken that will address those non-fishing factors and putting the onus of overfishing only on those fisheries that are actually being threatened by overfishing, rather than on every fishery in which there aren’t enough fish regardless of the reason.

Of course, like every other attempt to remove unnecessary and ineffectual regulatory burdens from fishermen, the anti-fishing ENGOs, the fishing organizations they support, and the foundations that support them object to this change, though there’s no reason involving the health of our fish stocks that they should. What such a change would do, however, is start directing attention to those non-fishing factors that threaten our fish stocks that shouldn’t be allowed to – surely something that will be opposed in any way possible by those foundation-supporting industries seeking the unconstrained control of the world’s oceans and who has access to them.

Fishermen have been unjustly bearing the responsibility for unsustainable fisheries, when the reason for that unsustainability has nothing to do with fishing for far too long and Congressman Young’s amendment will effectively end this anti-fishing ENGO engineered charade. The motivation of any group, organization or individual opposing this must be questioned, and questioned loudly and persistently.

Cancellation of CVC Policy Letter 15-05: Requirements for Out-of-Water Survival Craft

On February 8, 2016, the President signed H.R. Bill 4188, the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015” into law. In it, section 301 amended the out-of-water survival craft requirements in Title 46 United States Code (U.S.C.) §3104, limiting its applicability. This Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) notifies the public of these changes and hereby cancels the now obsolete CVC Policy Letter 15-05, which concerned previous out-of-water survival craft requirements.

Section 301 of the 2015 Coast Guard Authorization Act (CGAA) had two significant effects on the applicability of out-of-water survival craft. First, it amended 46 U.S.C. §3104, paragraph (a), requiring that only “passenger vessels” that operate in cold waters and are built or undergo a major conversion after January 1, 2016 shall be equipped with out-of-water survival craft. "Passenger vessel" is defined in 46 U.S.C. §2101(22) as a vessel of at least 100 gross tons (among other criteria). Currently, Title 46 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Subchapter H - Passenger Vessels and 46 CFR, Subchapter W - Lifesaving Appliances and Arrangements dictates the survival craft requirements for passenger vessels of at least 100 gross tons. The lowest category of survival craft authorized in Subchapter W is the Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus (IBAs), with which, no part of an individual is immersed in water. Therefore, passenger vessels properly in compliance with Subchapters H and W already meet the out-of-water survival craft requirements directed in the amended 46 U.S.C. §3104.

Second, the 2015 CGAA removed the language in the previous amendment of 46 U.S.C. §3104 that restricted the Coast Guard from approving any in-water survival craft (e.g., life floats and buoyant apparatus) for the purposes of all of Part B of Title 46 U.S.C. Therefore, because the other inspected vessels (small passenger vessels, offshore supply vessels, sailing school vessels, and cargo vessels as mentioned in the CVC Policy Letter 15-05) were not specifically named in the 2015 CGAA, they may continue to use their existing in-water survival craft beyond February 26, 2016. Furthermore, all fixed manned offshore platforms may continue to use in-water survival craft beyond February 26, 2016, as well. The Coast Guard will be issuing separate correspondence to survival craft manufactures re-authorizing or extending their type approval certificates for in-water survival craft. Lastly, a separate information bulletin will be issued explaining the survival craft requirements specifically for uninspected commercial fishing vessels.

Again, as a result of the 2015 CGAA, CVC Policy Letter 15-05 is rendered obsolete and the Coast Guard is cancelling it effective immediately. The Coast Guard stands ready to answer the questions of vessel and offshore platform owners and operators regarding their specific survival craft requirements.

Questions concerning this matter may be directed to the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Commandant (CG-CVC) at 202-372-1220, or at Questions specifically concerning survival craft type approvals should be directed to the Office of Design and Engineering Standards, Commandant (CG-ENG) at


USCG Notices 02-2016...Maps/Strainers

Electronic Charts and Publication NVIC 01-16

News Release

February 08, 2016
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
Contact: Headquarters Public Affairs
Office: (202) 372-4630

US Coast Guard approves official electronic charts

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard published guidance Feb. 5 that allows mariners to use electronic charts and publications instead of paper charts, maps and publications.

The Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16 establishes uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.

Combining the suite of electronic charts from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the Electronic Charting System (ECS) standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, the Coast Guard believes official electronic charts provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts. 

“After consultation with our Navigation Safety Advisory Committee, the Coast Guard will allow mariners to use official electronic charts instead of paper charts, if they choose to do so. With real-time voyage planning and monitoring information at their fingertips, mariners will no longer have the burden of maintaining a full portfolio of paper charts,” said Capt. Scott J. Smith, the chief of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Navigation Systems.

The new guidance applies to vessels subject to U.S. chart, or map, and publication carriage requirements codified in Titles 33 and 46 CFR and provides a voluntary alternative means to comply with those requirements.

“Mariners have been requesting the recognition of this capability for some time,” said Smith. “When you combine the new expanded Automatic Identification System carriage requirement and the capability that an ECS provides, it should provide a platform to move American waterways into the 21st century.”

This technology will also allow mariners to take advantage of information and data to enhance situational awareness during voyage planning and while underway.

“Together, with our industry and international partners, we are leveraging modern technology to contribute to the safety, security and prosperity of our nation,” said Smith.

 View NVIC 01-16 at:


Nonmetallic Sea Strainer Use on Small Passenger Vessels

The US Coast Guard issued a policy letter concerning sea strainers constructed of nonmetallic materials for use on small passenger vessels.

Sea strainers containing nonmetallic components have been installed on small passenger vessels for several decades without incident. However, the regulations were amended to require vital piping systems to be made of a ferrous material on board ”new” small passenger vessels. 

Marine inspectors continue to discover nonmetallic sea strainers on ”new” small passenger vessels. These strainers are typically found in raw water cooling systems but may also be installed within other systems. The notion that they represent a potential ”weak link” in a piping system due to the possibility of failure from mechanical or fire damage, which would result in the loss of the affected vital system and potentially result in uncontrollable flooding, simply hasn’t materialized for small passenger vessels. In fact, vessel operators have emphasized that these types of strainers have been successfully used for many years without the occurrence of significant mechanical failures, even when vessels had major fires.

To that end, a search of the MISLE database confirms a lack of historical casualty incidents related to these types of installed strainers. Furthermore, there are benefits to the use of nonmetallic or acrylic sea strainers; they provide improved safety by serving as a sight glass to check for adequate cooling water flow which in turn help prevent main engine overheating and propulsion casualties while underway.

Click HERE to read the USCG’s policy letter.

Availability of Seats for National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils

National Interest

Availability of Seats for National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils

AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Notice and request for applications.

SUMMARY: ONMS is seeking applications for vacant seats for five of its 13 national marine sanctuary advisory councils (advisory councils). Vacant seats, including positions (i.e., primary member and alternate), for each of the advisory councils are listed in this notice under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Applicants are chosen based upon their particular expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying; community and professional affiliations; views regarding the protection and management of marine or Great Lake resources; and possibly the length of residence in the area affected by the sanctuary. Applicants who are chosen as members or alternates should expect to serve two or three year terms, pursuant to the charter of the specific national marine sanctuary advisory council.

DATES: Applications are due by February 29, 2016.
For more info view the entire notice at:

U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT: NACO Support for Capt. Ray Bogan

On behalf of our members NACO wishes to provide our full support to Raymond D. Bogan to be appointed as the next U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT.  Ray's experience and expertise on national and international fishery issues is unsurpassed.  Along with his extensive background in fishery management he is the best candidate qualified and able to represent the recreational fishing community in the ICCAT arena.

To view the entire letter of support click here

NMFS has published individual fishing quota (IFQ)

NMFS has published individual fishing quota (IFQ) standard prices and fee percentage for the IFQ cost recovery program in the halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific. In fisheries such as halibut in AK 

and red snapper in the Gulf where efforts are underway to move to recreational IFQ's, it is necessary to understand the potential costs that recreational charter captains and others will experience if these programs go to IFQ. 

Please click here to view the entire federal register notice including pricing break downs. 

If you have any questions regarding this notice and how it may affect you or your fishery, please feel free to send in your questions to the NACo office at and we will submit them to the NACO fisheries committee for responses. 

2013 Plan for Periodic Review of Regulations

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) periodically review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This plan describes how NMFS will perform this review and describes the regulations that are being proposed for review during the current review-cycle.

Written comments must be received by NMFS by July 22, 2013.


Exploring the Alternative Biofuel Isobutanol

Last week, the National Marine Manufacturers Assn. (NMMA) kicked off a third summer season of alternative biofuel testing in an effort to further advance marine engine technology and find an alternative to fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol as a result of its damaging effects on marine engines. 

The tests are funded by the Department of Energy which released a 2011 report on engines using E15 revealing performance issues like stalling, corrosion leading to oil or fuel leaks, increased emissions and damaged valves, rubber fuel lines and gaskets. These results reinforced the recreational boating industry's concern that E15 is not a suitable fuel for boat engines.


2013 Vessel General Permit – Major Changes and Challenges

Currently this only affects vessels greater than 79' and/or carry more than 150 passengers or 50 or more passengers on overnight trips

On March 28, 2013, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the 2013 Vessel General Permit (2013 VGP) to regulate discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels. As the 2013 VGP becomes effective on 19th December 2013, about 12,500 foreign flagged vessels are expected to be subject to VGP requirements and be required to obtain authorization under this new permit. New ships (ships built after December 19, 2013) will be obliged to comply with various new requirements e.g. the monitoring of treated bilge water and grey water and ballast water treatment.

The EPA has added training as a new requirement of the 2013 VGP, requiring vessel operators to outline their training plans to ensure that all key vessel personnel sufficiently understand the nature of the eligible discharges and the terms of the permit, and are properly trained to respond to fuel spills and operate and maintain the pollution prevention equipment of their vessels.