Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 225-152 to pass H.R. 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, which both reforms and reauthorizes the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Stevens).

The reform bill passed by the House has been endorsed by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, the Billfish Foundation, IGFA, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Coastal Conservation Association, Center for Coastal Conservation, National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Recreational Fishing Alliance, along with hundreds of national and regional fishing associations.

In a release issued by the House Natural Resources Committee, Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) called the Magnuson Stevens reauthorization “a win for the recreational fisherman, a win for better and more transparent science and the environment, and a win for the American taxpayers.”

“The legislation would make a good law even better and it deserves more than blind opposition and empty political rhetoric from the White House,” Rep. Bishop said in response to a presidential threat to veto the legislation if it arrives on his desk. “Tonight we took a strong step forward in the effort to improve our federal fisheries laws and strengthen local economies across the country.”

Throughout Monday’s debate, Rep. Bishop noted that his Committee has held 10 hearings on the issue since 2007 featuring testimony from more than 80 different congressional witnesses. He also remarked about the historic agreement between members of both the recreational and commercial fishing communities in brokering agreement for the reform language.

“Commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen and the seafood industry support this legislation,” Rep. Bishop said. “It’s unique that all three are in support of updating this law in this particular fashion.”

“Flexibility is a cornerstone of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which promotes regional flexibility recognizing differing ocean conditions, variations in regional fisheries, different harvesting methods and management techniques, and distinct community impacts,” stated Rep. Don Young (R-AK), lead sponsor of the legislation. One of the original sponsors of Magnuson when it was first enacted in 1976, Rep. Young said that H.R. 1335 would provide a number of “modest but necessary updates” to the federal fisheries law, including efforts to improve fisheries management flexibility and transparency, enhance data collection, while also offering predictability and certainty to the coastal communities that depend on stable fishing activities.

“The economic importance of commercial and recreational fishing is undeniable,” stated Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA). “However, our marine resources must be properly managed in order to promote robust domestic seafood and recreational fishing industries while also conserving healthy and sustainable fisheries.”

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I believe H.R. 1335 makes great strides by promoting better science and requiring the consideration of more data in managing fisheries,” Rep. Wittman added.

"Contributing billions to our state’s economy and creating thousands of jobs, our commercial and recreational fishing industries are a critical part of our coastal communities in New Jersey,” stated Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). “This great bill meets the needs of those industries and more importantly, it does so in a way that will give our nation’s fishermen the flexibility and tools they need to manage their own livelihood with regulations based on sound science, not knee-jerk government interference."

While the White House and several environmental and preservationist groups have pledged continued “interference” and opposition to the fisheries legislation, H.R. 1335 boasts support from many commercial fishing groups, restaurant associations and business and civic organizations within coast communities. The measure now goes to the Senate.

To see if your representative voted with the ‘ayes’ or the ‘noes’ click here.