House Passes Terrible Bill for Overfishing
Yesterday the House passed a bill, H.R. 965, that will lead to more overfishing across the country. The measure that makes significant changes to a 1976 law was passed by a vote of 222-193. The 1976 law is known to have improved the health and productivity of fisheries. The new bill would give more authority to local fishery councils to set fishing standards such as limits and seasons. Four New Jersey Republicans voted in favor of the bill including Congressman LoBiondo (D2), MacArthur (D3), Smith (D4) and Frelinghuysen (D11). Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, released the following statement:
“Once again the federal government is siding with special interests over using real science to make the best decision. Passing this overhaul will mean less protections for fisheries and much more chances for overfishing. We’ve lost fisheries in New Jersey such as cod and shrimp by overfishing in the past, but we haven’t learned our lesson and neither has the federal government. This bill is a serious threat to fish populations and the communities that rely upon them.
“Allowing local fisheries councils to set standards means they will act in their best interests without thought of long-term sustainability. When these fish populations plummet that will mean less food and less jobs. This bill directly threatens the sustainable fisheries practices that have helped our fish populations recover over the past decades. With the increased threat of climate change, our fisheries are already at risk and this irresponsible and terrible piece of legislation will only make the situation worse.
“By giving in to the commercial fishing industry, they’ll be killing the goose that lays the golden egg. If we regulate and protect these fisheries, we’ll keep them sustainable for years to come. If we over-fish them now by removing these important industries, it will hurt us in the future. We need our Senators to block this dangerous bill that caters to the fishing industry over the health and well-being of our fish populations and those who make their living off of them.