Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

February 22, 2014

Group asking for national saltwater fishing policy

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Disappointment registered by recreational anglers across the country over increased federal fishing regulations and management schemes led recreational-based trade associations and conservation groups to set up what this coalition called the “Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management.”

Thursday, this commission, co-chaired by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and Maverick Boats President Scott Deal, released its years-in-the-making “Landmark Vision for Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management” at the Miami International Boat Show.

The report is timed to coincide with increasing congressional debate over the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the law that mandates federal control of all fish species in federal waters.

In its release, the Vision report identified six major recreational-fishing related recommendations to be included in Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization in 2016. They included:

—Establishment of a national recreational fishing policy;

—A revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management;

—Allocating, or reallocating, marine fisheries for the greatest benefit for the country;

—Creating reasonable stock-rebuilding timelines;

—Mandating in law the process for cooperative fisheries management;

—Managing systems for the forage base, a factor largely ignored in current legislation.

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