Federal laws governing saltwater sport fishery management are a mess. Unfortunately, the current law known as the Magnuson-Stevens Act, is out of date and has never taken recreational anglers into account, favoring instead commercial fishing interests. Fortunately, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, or Modern Fish Act for short, has been introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2023) and the U.S. Senate (S. 1520) to address the issue. This Act will provide federal managers with the tools and data needed to appropriately manage marine resources to benefit recreational fishing in federal waters.
So why should B.A.S.S. members care about this legislation? Well for starters, among the 11 million saltwater recreational anglers, there are a considerable number who "cross over" and fish freshwater too - you may be one of them! Saltwater fishing has a $70 billion (that's with a b) impact to the Nation's economy and might even touch you or your community. It puts 455,000 Americans to work. And yet, when it comes to federal management, the sport aspect has been frequently overlooked in favor of commercial interests. The Modern Fish Act aims to fix that.
But there is more. When it comes time that bass anglers need support to help push legislation through Congress to fund improvements in fish habitat, protect water quality, secure access or repair aging dams and boat ramps (infrastructure)...the old saying seems to fit..."What goes around, comes around." Support your saltwater brethren now and they will support you when you are in need.
And finally, there is awareness. This federal saltwater fishery management argument has been heated and contentious with both sides throwing economic impact figures, job numbers and social benefits at Congress in an effort to make their case. In the Modern Fish Act, the recreational anglers have been able to show just how important recreational fishing is to this country, and that awareness among our elected officials of the value of the sport of fishing is priceless - and will make a difference when we ask for their support of our causes in the future.
So...sign on. Go to http://www.sportfishingpolicy.com/tell-your-member-of-congress-to-support-the-modern-fish-act to send a message to your elected officials in Washington urging them to support the Modern Fish Act.