WASHINGTON, DC, December 12, 2001 (ENS) - The House of Representatives has passed the Fisheries Conservation Act (HR 1989) on Tuesday, extending funding for six laws which govern the nation's commercial fisheries.
Implementing the bill is expected to cost $166 million in 2002 and almost $1.2 billion over the 2002-2006 period.
HR 1989 extends either authority or appropriations for:
The Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986
The measure also authorizes appropriations for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) programs including fisheries conservation and management, information collection and analysis, and state and industry cooperation.
Representative Wayne Gilchrest, the Maryland Republican who sponsored the bill, has been a long time supporter of including commercial and recreational fishers in the process of managing the nation's fisheries.
"We need to forge a better working relationship between those who manage our resources and those fishermen who are out there every day with the resource," said Gilchrest, who chairs the House Fisheries Subcommittee. "The state of Maryland has done a good job in working with watermen to determine the condition of the state's fisheries. My goal is to get the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to do the same with watermen who work in federal waters. NMFS can begin to achieve this goal by drawing on the expertise and experience of commercial and recreational fishermen by conducting cooperative research."
The Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and the Anadromous Fisheries Conservation Act provide grants to states for research into fisheries management, habitat rehabilitation, and other measures to improve the survival of fish species that travel across state boundaries or over great distances.
The Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act provide directives to the states and the Atlantic States Marine Fish Commission to develop fishery management plans for the species of fish under their jurisdiction along the East coast.
NOAA's Marine Fisheries Program Authorization Act consolidates several marine fishery programs under the Department of Commerce, including fisheries information collection and analysis, fisheries conservation and management operations, and fisheries state and industry assistance.
The Atlantic Tunas Convention Act and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention Act implement international treaties to which the U.S. is a party. The Atlantic Tunas Convention Act allows the U.S. to implement conservation recommendations made by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, while the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention Act allows the U.S. to implement conservation recommendations by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization.