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Watchdog group releases fish report

From Mirror reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Center for Sportfishing Policy has updated its Modern Fish Act Progress Report, which grades how the federal government is implementing the law in terms of timeliness, stakeholder input and substance.

The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 recognizes that recreational and commercial fishing are fundamentally different activities and should be managed accordingly and adds more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.

“The Center for Sportfishing Policy and its partners continue to make progress with NOAA Fisheries on the implementation of the Modern Fish Act,” Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy, said. “We are encouraged by steps federal fisheries managers have taken to recognize commercial and recreational fishing as fundamentally different endeavors. Nevertheless, challenges remain and not every aspect of this critical law is fully implemented. We will remain vigilant in our oversight of this historic undertaking.”

Various federal entities are responsible for the implementation of the Modern Fish Act, which has been interrupted by a government shutdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Modern Fish Act was a significant piece of legislation that recognized the differences between recreational and commercial fishing and provided more appropriate tools for managing recreational fisheries,” Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs for the American Sportfishing Association, said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to build on the current progress to fully implement the Act and secure meaningful management improvements for America’s saltwater anglers.”

Though the watchdog group would like to see policy implemented at a faster pace, they are pleased that at least it is taking place.

“The Modern Fish Act of 2018 recognized the importance of recreational angling in federal fisheries management for the first time,” Chris Horton, senior director of fisheries policy for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, said. “While implementation of the Act has been slow, we are encouraged by ongoing efforts of the regional fishery management councils, as well as recent discussions with NOAA Fisheries, on ways to better manage the recreational component of mixed-use fisheries.”

Fishing enthusiasts are asked to go to CSP’s Modern Fish Act Progress Report page to learn where the government is on track and where it is not at www.sportfishingpolicy.com/2019-modern-fish-act-implementation-progress-rep.

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