Pew Environment Group Urges Strong Enforcement in Mid-Atlantic of New Rules on Overfishing

March 9, 2009

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pew Environment Group today called upon the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to diligently implement important new federal requirements designed to prevent overfishing and rebuild depleted fish populations.

The council is currently developing plans to apply the new federal rules, which became effective on February 17, 2009. These rules correspond to 2006 congressional amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s primary law governing management of U.S. fish populations.

In a letter sent today to the Mid-Atlantic Council, Pew invoked new federal requirements that regional fishery management plans to include by 2011 annual catch limits and accountability measures designed to prevent overfishing and rebuild depleted fishing populations Other key provisions of these rules strengthen the role of science in fisheries management decisions and require that depleted fish populations are rebuilt as soon as possible.

“Regional fishery managers have a new opportunity and stronger legal and scientific tools to protect fish populations from overfishing,” said Bill Wolfe, who manages Pew’s campaign to end overfishing in the Mid-Atlantic. “The Mid-Atlantic Council needs to commit to improving fisheries management, end overfishing and rebuild stocks to healthy, sustainable levels. The time is now and the directive has never been clearer.”

The letter urges the Mid-Atlantic Council to:

  • set effective catch limits that reflect conservative scientific and management estimates;
  • establish accountability measures to help ensure annual catch limits are not exceeded and that there are consequences if they are;
  • ensure that regional fish populations are rebuilt by legally mandated dates; and
  • require adequate monitoring and enforcement.

Popular Mid-Atlantic recreational and commercial species subject to the new requirements include black sea bass, summer flounder (fluke) and scup.

“The Council has made progress, but it must complete the job by adopting binding science-based measures,” said Wolfe. “Following our recommendations will make sure that overfishing does not recur and that these depleted stocks make a recovery.”

To read the letter to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, go to http://www.endoverfishing.org/resources/MAFMCLetter3-9.pdf.

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.

SOURCE Pew Environment Group

Source: newswire

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