WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal bill proposing to enhance marine fishery conservation and expand recreational fishing opportunities was approved by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 17 and the House of Representatives on Dec. _. A compromised version of the Modern Fish Act now heads to Pres. Donald J. Trump, who will decide whether to sign or reject the proposed legislation.
The Modern Fish Act – also known as the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 – would modify the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s authoritative fishing law.
Representatives passed their own version of the Modern Fish Act in July, but updated the proposed legislation to reflect the Senate’s input.
A spokesperson with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) stated the Senate-approved bill maintains science-based conservation standards and provides regional fisheries management councils with several tools to meet local needs.
“[Senators] have reached agreement on a bill that responds to the demands of recreational fishing advocates without jeopardizing either sustainability or Americans’ access to local seafood,” Matt Tinning, EDF’s associate vice president of oceans, said in a released statement.
Thom Dammrich, president of National Marine Manufacturers Association, said the Modern Fish Act modernizes the federal fisheries management system and would protect recreational fishing opportunities for generations.
The Congress-approved Modern Fish Act would allow for more local or regional control of fisheries management, improve recreational harvest data collection and require a study of the ecological, economic and social effects of legislation.
The government shutdown was still in effect at press time; it is unclear how long the signing or veto of the Modern Fish Act would be delayed, if at all, by the shutdown.