Modern Fish Act Moves Closer to Becoming Law

Februarry 28,2018

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation overwhelmingly approved S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act). This legislation calls for critically important updates to the oversight of federal fisheries, including adding more tools to the management toolbox, improving data collection techniques, and examining some fishery allocations that are based on decades-old decisions.

The Modern Fish Act was introduced in the Senate in July 2017 by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and received strong bi-partisan support to update the nation’s fisheries management system to more accurately distinguish between recreational and commercial fishing. This bill is the result of tremendous work done over the last five years by the recreational fishing and boating community that came together to form the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management. This group, also referred to as the Morris-Deal Commission, named for co-chairs Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boat Group, released “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries” in 2014, which included key policy changes to expand saltwater recreational fishing’s social, economic and conservation benefits to the nation and formed the basis of the Modern Fish Act.

On December 13, 2017, the Modern Fish Act (H.R. 2023) was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee as part of H.R. 200. The bills must now be voted on by the House and Senate. We urge support of the Modern Fish Act and the improvements that it will bring to recreational fisheries around the nation.