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H.R. 1335: Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act

Jun 1, 2015 at 7:41 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the House.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1335 (114th) in the House.

H.R. 1335 would:

  • Double the amount of time an emergency regulation can adjust a fishery management plan.
  • Add economic impact to "fishing communities" to the list of factors that need to be considered when creating catch limits and exempt for some fish with short life spans.
  • Require Regional Fishery Management Council meetings to be posted online.
  • All requirements of the the National Environmental Policy Act and all related implementing regulations would be deemed approved if the Regional Fishery Management Council completes a fishery impact statement.
  • Create a pilot program for using electronic monitoring at fisheries.
  • Repeal independent peer-reviewed analysis' of the quality of statistics collected on fishing populations and a requirement for catch limits for Gulf of Mexico red snapper for recreational and commercial fishermen
  • Prohibit the government from factoring in red snapper killer during the removal of offshore oil rigs when determining catch limits.
  • Change the rules for management of an overfished fishery so that there is no hard deadline (currently 10 years) to replenish the fishery.
  • Add exceptions, including one that allows overfishing to continue if replenishment can't be done "without significant economic harm to the fishery".
  • Ensure that this law will trump the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Antiquities Act, and the Endangered Species Act
  • Prohibit the government from factoring fish caught by foreign vessels in the U.S. economic zone when determining catch limits.
  • Require new guidelines be issued that will use nongovernmental sources for fisheries management decisions.

The bill has received a veto threat from President Obama.

Hearing: House Rules Committee, May 19, 2015

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA7)-10 Snapper Days

“...in this bill we are trying to make sure that sound science is used, so when they actually do their estimates, they go to where the fish actually are to make those particular estimates. Those estimates are more accurate, and I think they will be. Then you’ll see a great many more fish that will be available. We can open it up for recreation—we ought to open it up for recreation. Still won’t have these regional councils making those kinds of decisions, and I support that, but at the same time, the data that was used coming out of the federal government was flawed, period. This is an effort to try to fix that flawed data, and I think it works well.”

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA2) - Even Fish, Not Days

“The numbers do sound so heavily imbalanced - the numbers of days that recreational folks can fish vs the much greater number for commercial. It’s important to note that the council that set these rules in place, not someone sitting in Washington DC, basically split up the volume of the fish available to catch at almost half and half between commercial and recreational, so the days are very mismatched, but the number of fish are close to half and half, and the number of fish that the recreational folks catch on their much smaller number of days is actually roughly equal to the number that the commercial folks catch on a much greater number of days. So, there’s a little more than meets the eye to this challenge, but, again, it’s set by a council at the regional level, and maybe the best thing we can do is get better science to see if we can have better rules but also continue rebuilding these stocks so that there’s more fish for everyone.”

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA8) -Measure Gutted Weight

“The other thing is they allow the commercial fishermen to weigh their fish with a gutted weight, where we, as recreational fishermen, have to weigh ours with a whole weight, and that’s about another fifteen-percent difference. So, it’s not pound to pound, and that’s one of the things that if we straightened out the removal of that buffer and the ability for us to count our fish in a gutted weight instead of a whole weight would make a big difference.”

Huffman-Fish Every Day

“I just wanted to speak to this idea of fathers and sons not having a chance to fish, and I wanted to point out that, in fact, they can fish any day of the year. Within state waters, most of those days, they can fish for red snapper. The conflict between the state policy, which is very permissive for red-snapper fishing, and a federal council-driven policy, which has to protect certain numbers, is what leads to the few number of days that you can keep red snapper in federal waters, but you can still fish for them, father and son. You can go out, fish for them, fish for any other species you want, keep the other species.”

Scott-Plenty for Everyone

“Now, again, there’s plenty for everybody, and, in fact, the excuse to cut us to ten days, one of the excuses is that there’s so many more fish and the fish are so much bigger now that the recreational guy is just catching his limit faster. Now, you know, that just doesn’t make any sense at all. We were promised as rec guys when the species recovered that we would have our season back, and that’s what we’re asking for.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO2) -Too Many People

“Obviously, the numbers are taking a lot more out of the water, as we talked about, from the commercial side, but simple arithmetic shows that there are too many people putting too much pressure on red-snapper stock to sustain more recreational fishing than just a few days. So I think private boat anglers need to be creative, and I know that commercial and charter-for-hire sectors are developing creative solutions, but I think that we have to look at the data that NOAA and others have provided to ensure that not just this year’s fishermen but that we have sufficient stock for years to come to enjoy.”

Rep. Don Young (R-AK0) -Antiquities Act

“…and I go back to those that are trying to hijack this legislation for other purposes. If they wish to introduce a bill on Antiquities Act and take away fishing rights on the fishermen and make parks out of the ocean, let them do it. But don’t use this bill. If they want to have NEPA be involved all the time to a greater extent, then let’s have a separate vote on that. But this bill was passed originally for sustainable and for the communities of the utilization of our oceans.”

Thank you to Congressional Dish for their outline of H.R. 2620. This version is edited by GovTrack.

Totals

All Votes R D
Aye 60%
 
 
225
220
 
5
 
No 40%
 
 
152
3
 
149
 
Not Voting
 
 
55
21
 
34
 

Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source: house.gov.

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