April 29, 2011

Hagan takes issue with New York Times editorial on Magnuson-Stevens

U.S. Sen. Kay R. Hagan, D-N.C., today stood up for North Carolina fishermen in the New York Times. Hagan wrote a letter to the editor, published in today’s paper, in response to a Times editorial that praises the current fishery management law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Hagan cosponsored the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act, which would change this law to provide fishermen needed flexibility to maintain their livelihoods. Hagan's letter to the editor can be read here.
“Without flexibility, fisheries that are rebuilt in less than a decade must remain closed, leaving fishermen stuck at the docks, and businesses from tackle shops to boat builders suffering,” Hagan wrote in the Times. “Our coastal economies are hemorrhaging jobs. Fishermen are now spending more time in the waters off South Americaís coast, where they can fish without laws that straightjacket them.
“I am pushing for the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act because we need regulations that let North Carolina fishermen do what they do best -- fish in the waters off North Carolina.”
Currently, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires fisheries that are considered "overfished" to be completely rebuilt within 10 years. The 10-year timeline leaves no flexibility to utilize the most up-to-date technology and forces regulators to implement overly strict fishing quotas.

The Flexibility in Rebuilding Fisheries Act, sponsored by U. S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will allow fishery managers to balance environmental and economic priorities by letting overfished sites specify a rebuilding time period that makes sense.

The Times, however, defended the rigid law in an April 20 editorial that can be read here.
Hagan also opposes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's policy on catch shares and is working with U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., to protect watermen's rights.

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