Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today called for passage of his bill The Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2011 at the Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally in Washington D.C. Thousands of recreational and commercial fishermen from across the country attended the rally in support of Pallone's bill.
The Flexibility and Access in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act makes major reforms to current law to create flexibility in the timeline of rebuilding fisheries. It provides the Secretary of Commerce authority to lift the requirement of an annual catch limit if a stock is healthy, overfishing is not occurring and there is not enough information to support a lower catch limit.
"Current fishery rebuilding plans are much too rigid, which hurts fishing communities economically," said Pallone. "The fishing business has been a way of life for generations on the New Jersey shore and is integral to our economy. In New Jersey alone, commercial and recreational fishing supports nearly 50,000 jobs."
The bill would apply flexibility to all fisheries and allow fisheries managers to put fish stocks on a sustainable path to a healthy size while allowing fair access to the stock. The bill would also increase transparency in the scientific process that determines quota levels and require better data collection for managing recreational fishing.
"I'm proud to join with recreational and commercial fishermen to fight for this bill," said Pallone. "I believe it would address burdensome catch limits and protect fishermen jobs, while ensuring that our fisheries remain sustainable for generations to come," he added.