Ben Speciale’s March 30 My Turn “Modernize recreational fishing – the big picture” misses an important point: anyone who pulls a wild fish from the water is a fisherman. Instead, Speciale advocates for proposed legislation (S. 1520, “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017”) that takes a splintered approach to fishery management and jeopardizes the future productivity of our wild fish populations.
Here in Alaska, nearly every resident is a fisherman. How, when and where we harvest our fish varies greatly, as does our motivation to fish: sustenance, recreation and income. But at the end of the day, we are all removing wild fish from the total population. I hope my fellow Alaskans will agree that the big picture is this: As fishermen, we all share responsibility in conserving our fish resources for future generations.
For over 40 years, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) has played a critical role in bringing America’s fishermen together around the table and establishing shared accountability and science-based regulations. The result has been improved data collection, restored fish populations and increased economic opportunities for Americans. With the Magnuson-Stevens Act up for renewal, I expect Alaska’s leaders to uphold the science and conservation measures that have proven successful. Allowing one fishing group special preference will only hurt our fish, which in turn will hurt all of us.
If being “modern” means risking the future abundance of our wild fish, then I think we should stick with what’s tried and true.
Recreational angler, Anchorage