Inhofe Statement on Modern Fish Act

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology, today praised the enactment of S.1520 , the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018, legislation he cosponsored.

“I’m pleased the Modern Fish Act has become law. This legislation gives fishermen and fishery managers the flexibility and stability they need without unnecessary federal overreach while also promoting our conservation efforts. Oklahoma has almost a million anglers that contribute over a billion dollars of economic activity to Oklahoma’s economy and are directly responsible for over 10,000 jobs and I’m proud to have worked with them to get this bill across the finish line this year.”

 The legislation was praised by key stakeholders:

“The passing of the Modern Fish Act will have a tremendous impact on the recreational fishing community and the marine industry as a whole,” said Mick Webber, CEO of HydroHoist Marine Group Inc., based in Claremore, Okla. “Many marine related businesses in Oklahoma will see increased sales in the salt water markets as a direct result of the bill being passed. We applaud Senator Inhofe for his leadership and advocacy for the Marine Industry.”

“Recreational fishing is a huge part of Oklahoma’s economy and heritage,” said Steve Smits, president of Zebco Brands, based in Tulsa, Okla. “In addition to the many businesses in the state like ours that produce equipment used for saltwater recreational fishing, each year thousands of Oklahomans travel to the coasts to wet a line. The Modern Fish Act will lead to significant improvements in saltwater recreational fisheries management, and we are grateful for Senator Inhofe’s leadership in helping to secure this bill’s passage in the U.S. Senate.”

“As an avid outdoorsman, Senator Inhofe has a strong understanding of the importance of recreational fishing to the economy and conservation,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs of the American Sportfishing Association. “For too long, those values have not been reflected in the way our federal marine fisheries are managed. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Inhofe and other Senate leaders, the recreational fishing community should begin to see significant advances in the management and conservation of our marine fisheries as a result of the Modern Fish Act’s passage.”

“Senator Inhofe has long been a fierce advocate for the recreational boating and fishing community – which includes dozens of marine manufacturers in Oklahoma – and his leadership on the Modern Fish Act is one more example of him delivering for us,” said Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government relations and legal affairs of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “This legislation marks the first significant update to federal fisheries management in more than a decade, moving us closer to responsibly expanding access for American’s 11 million recreational saltwater anglers. And quite simply, we wouldn’t be celebrating its passage without Senator Inhofe’s dedication and hard work.”

Background: Under current law, the Magnuson Stevens-Fisheries Conservation Act (MSA) manages the marine fisheries in the United States and has been the framework for improving many fisheries. While MSA has proven to be effective in the commercial fishing industry, it can be improved to better address the needs of the recreational fishing community. The Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 will address these needs by:

  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting.
  • Providing NOAA Fisheries Management Councils with the authority to use alternative fishery management measures in recreational fisheries when developing a management plan.
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils.
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study on catch shares through the Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPP) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program.