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Ocean Champions: Political Champions for Ocean Conservation

Dear Friend,

As I peruse the card rack at the store today, I can’t help but notice all the Father’s Day cards featuring fathers and sons fishing. While these images warm my heart, I am disheartened to report that earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R.1335, the "Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act," a revision and reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSA) by a 225-152 vote. Unlike past Magnuson reauthorization efforts, which passed with near unanimous support, this bill was highly controversial, thus the 152 Members voting against it.

This bill is contrary to the last two strongly bipartisan reauthorizations of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The provisions in this bill roll back policies and management strategies that have helped strengthen and rebuild US fisheries. In fact, NOAA released its report in April, Status of the US Fisheries Stock 2014, which states that the number of overfishing and overfished domestic stocks are at an all time low. This is due to decades of the science-based management that have been the backbone of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

It just doesn’t make sense to undo something that has proven to work. Late last year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program announced it was upgrading 21 species of West Coast to either a “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”.  Many had previously been listed as species to “Avoid”. They attribute a huge part of the recovery of this commercially important fishery to the adherence of the science-based conservation and management practices that Congress endorsed in the 2006 update of U.S. fishery law.

While I am disappointed that the bill passed the House, all of us at Ocean Champions are working to prevent similar legislation from passing the Senate. We should see the Senate send the bill back to conference. There is still time to make the changes needed for healthy and prosperous fishing in this country.

Stay tuned. We will keep you up to date on any developments.

In the meantime, enjoy Father’s Day, the start of summer, and International Surfing Day. There is so much to celebrate about our ocean.

For the oceans,

David Wilmot, Ph.D.
President and Co-Founder

P.S. I want to give a big "Thank you!” to all of our ocean warriors for contacting your Representatives to let them know to oppose this harmful fisheries bill. When I am on the Hill, I hear how important these calls are.


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Ocean Champions
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