Fishy Culprits Threaten Our Oceans

Sydney Jones

Press Secretary

[email protected]

Carole Mitchell

Sr. Director Communications

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With Summer just around the corner, many Americans are breaking out their tackle boxes and revving their boat engines in anticipation of sunny afternoons on the water, enjoying nature with their families. Unfortunately, a few seemingly innocuous companies, are quietly putting their profits over the health of our oceans and fish populations.

Right now, corporations with a short-term interest in selling a lot of equipment, like boat motors and tackle, are using their political power and influence in a way that threatens the long-term ability for anglers to enjoy the resource of our oceans. These special interests are working to repeal longstanding and sensible regulations on our fisheries, which will lead to overfishing, the potential loss of fish populations, and the destruction of critical ecosystems. We have a right to enjoy prosperous fisheries for years to come and the way to ensure that we can #KeepOceansFishy is to fish this big money out of fishing politics.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act and Its Attackers

As a result of effective federal conservation policies, the United States benefits from one of the most sustainable and profitable fisheries management systems in the world. The primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters is the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The MSA uses science-based evidence to establish catch limits for fish that balance recreational and commercial fishing goals with the long-term viability of the nation’s fishery resources.

Established in 1976, and reauthorized six times, the law has been instrumental in the recovery of 44 fisheries around the country that had been depleted by years of excess fishing. Unfortunately, large trade associations are aggressively and effectively pushing for legislation that stands to jeopardize the long-term viability of our fisheries. These groups make progress by claiming to represent fishers but instead, actually represent fishing gear (motors, tackle, and more!) manufacturers who value short-term profit over the ability of our grandchildren to continue the tradition of fishing, Need further proof? Look no further than the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). The ASA has some surprising corporate sponsors: sunglasses company, Costa Del Mar; bicycle manufacturer, Shimano; and musical instrument giant, Yamaha. Although you might not expect these companies to have an interest in destroying our fisheries, the latter two produce more than bikes and pianos: Yamaha also manufactures motors for boats and Shimano sells fishing and rowing gear. Less regulation on fishing = more Yamaha motors on the water, more Shimano fishing rods in our hands, and more Costa Del Mar shades protecting our eyes on bright, fishing season days.

Special Interests Threaten the Red Snapper

One clear example of where we have already seen the will of trade associations and their corporate dollars put before fishery longevity and protection is in the case of the red snapper. In September 2017, after meeting with Yamaha and other special interests, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross bent to the will of anti-conservation lobbyists, ignored federal law, and turned a blind eye to science-based decision-making by extending the recreational fishing season for the Gulf of Mexico red snapper from the recommended three days to 39 additional days. Scientists estimate that the extension will delay the recovery of the fishery by up to six years and is certain to lead to overfishing.

Help Us Win!

For the past 42 years the United States has enjoyed the advantages of robust, efficient federal fisheries management systems that the recreational fishing lobby is now threatening with funding from special interest groups. With the bottomless checkbook of these huge brands and the lobbying expertise of trade associations, we can only wonder what environmental regulations will be targeted next.

Want to take action to stop corporate interests, like Yamaha, from prioritizing their short-term gains at the expense of our fisheries? Sign our music fans’ petition here!

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