On a trip to Washington, D.C. last week, Ben, Emily, and Saco fisherman Tom Casamassa got some face time in with Maine Senator Angus King. The MCFA team was visiting D.C. to discuss the re-authorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the piece of legislation which oversees all United States fisheries policy.
From left: Ben Martens, Tom Casamassa, Emily Tucker, and Sen. Angus King.
We got to talk about some of the most pressing issues facing New England fisheries with Senator King, including the high costs of at-sea monitoring, the shift to electronic monitoring, and the necessity of getting the best possible stock assessment surveys. We're looking forward to continuing to work with Senator King and our other Maine representatives to make the newest updates to our federal fisheries policies the best they can be for Maine fishermen.
The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), which was first enacted in 1976 and is updated, or "re-authorized", every ten years. MSA has come a long way since its beginnings, when it first began protecting US fisheries from exploitation by foreign fishing vessels up to 200 nautical miles offshore. More recently, updates to the MSA have created regional fisheries management councils which ensure locally-based decision-making and have mandated that fisheries policy goals be based on the best available scientific information.
Members of the Fishing Communities Coalition groups in Washington, D.C.
at the end of the "Fish Tales" cocktail party hosted annually by FCC.
MCFA is working to achieve our goals in D.C. with our partner organizations in the Fishing Communities Coalition, an association of like-minded groups representing small-boat, community-based fishermen who share our commitment to sustainable and responsible fisheries management. Last week, we met up with representatives and fishermen from our FCC partner organizations who came from as far as Alaska, Cape Cod, and the Gulf of Mexico coastal states to work on these hugely important issues. We hope that, together, we will be able to do far more to help protect fisheries and assist fishermen than we could ever do alone.