This past Tuesday, the draft bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act was released by the U.S. House. The Magnuson-Stevens Act is a big deal because this is the law that lays out how fisheries management works in the United States. This time, a number of changes have been proposed by Representative Doc Hastings, some of which could fundamentally change fisheries management and fisheries science in U.S. waters. The proposed changes immediately became controversial, garnering overwhelming support from witnesses to the House Natural Resources Committee hearing of the bill (witnesses included representatives from the recreational and commercial fishing industries as well as the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council) while the Pew Charitable Trust strongly opposed the bill, calling it the “Empty Oceans Act” (translated into GIFs by Upwell for your viewing pleasure).
How might the Hastings bill affect your favorite marine species (both in the water and on your dinner plate)? Read on to see the good, bad, and ugly aspects of these proposed changes, at least according to this particular fisheries scientist.