Thousands of Coastal Fishermen to Rally in Washington, D.C. on March 21.
In another historic show of solidarity, U.S. recreational and commercial fishermen will gather at Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2012 starting at noon in an organized demonstration supporting sensible reform of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. This is a follow-up to a rally in February of 2010 that brought some 5,000 recreational, commercial and party/charter vessel owners, fishermen and people in fisheries dependent businesses from all over the country to Washington. Twenty plus members of the Senate and House of Representatives spoke regarding efforts to reform Magnuson.
Signed into law in 1976, the 36-year-old law "most notably aided in the development of the domestic fishing industry by phasing out foreign fishing," according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. In recent years however, the act has been transformed from its original intent into a weapon employed by a handful of mega-foundations and the so-called marine conservation organizations they subsidize aimed at reducing overall participation in our nation's rich fisheries while driving both commercial and recreational fishermen off the water. Rally organizers are asking legislators for help by amending the law to provide a better balance of marine conservation and coastal commerce, as it was originally intended to do.
The upcoming rally is being billed as Keep Fishermen Fishing, and once again unites the commercial and recreational sectors under one common message; "Fix Magnuson Now." There were more than 40 chartered buses filled with rally participants in 2010, and efforts are once again underway in many coastal states to transport fishermen to the rally.
Keep Fishermen Fishing organizers thus far include Recreational Fishing Alliance, Southeastern Fisheries Association, National Association of Charterboat Operators, Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen's Association, Garden State Seafood Association, United Boatmen, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, Panama City Boatmen, Viking Village Dock, Fishermen's Dock, Hull's Seafood Markets, Lund's Fisheries, Westport Charterboat Association, Southern Off Shore Fishing Association, Garibaldi Charters, Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association, New York Fishing Tackle Trades Association, Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund, New York Sportfishing Federation, Monkfish Defense Fund, Atlantic Capes Seafood, North Carolina Watermen United, Big Game Fishing Journal, West Coast Seafood Processors Association and Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.