Together, we save fish and fishing communities. There are two pieces. First,we’re asking people to modify their personal practices by taking the four steps below. Second, we’re seeking more funding for fisheries science in the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act. At tabling events, we ask people to take these four steps and invite them to participate with a card activity of cod, haddock, monkfish, redfish, mackerel, blue-back herring, and a fishing vessel cards. We have them pick their favorite and write their name, town and state on it.
Four Personal Actions to Save Fish and Fishing Communities:
1 Switch from meat to fish- It slows climate change
2 Eat Local fish – It supports our fishermen
3 Buy cheaper fish – It’s a more abundant fish
4. Stay savvy – Join the Ocean River Institute by signing up for eAlerts
The Magnuson-Stevens Act is the primary law governing conservation of U.S. ocean fisheries. Since 2000, 34 depleted fish populations have been rebuilt. Since 2000, the number of fish stocks subjected to overfishing (the problem of fish populations in specific ocean areas being fished faster than they can reproduce) has decreased from 72 fish stocks to 28. It should be only a matter of time, money and work before America has sustainable fisheries across the board.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides funding to count cod in the Gulf of Maine every three years. Yet, no funding is provided to count cod in the adjacent Georges Bank water a bit further offshore. As a result of a lack in federal funding, the fishery council is blind-sided in the setting of cod catch allotments.
More funding for Magnuson-Stevens Act implementation is needed. With federal funding haddock were researched when encountering a trawl net. Haddock swim with flounder and cod. As the net set about them, the cod and flounder swam down towards the bottom. Haddock swam to one side or the other, to evade the net, unsuccessfully. By modifying their gear and their practices fishermen are now sustainably fishing haddock without flounder and cod bycatch. More government funding for Fisheries management will mean more successes like this one.
We should build on the success of the law in restoring individual fish populations by incorporating a more comprehensive approach that protects ocean habitats, reduces wasteful bycatch, strengthens the management of forage fish (herring & menhaden) by accounting for the important role they play in ocean ecosystems, and requires ecosystem planning. These actions strengthen ocean ecosystems, support fish populations and support coastal communities all being assaulted by global warming, shifting currents and increasing ocean acidity.
Conditions for fish and fishermen are only getting worse with increasing pollution, algal blooms, loss of nursery habitats, ocean dead zones, acidification, warming waters and shifting currents. Please keep the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management Act strong and ensure sufficient funding for its implementation so that new challenges may also be met and responsible stewardship of fish and fishing communities furthered.