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RFA Congressional Action Alert

Sent in from a BFT user.

As we all know, the primary law that governs our nations marine fisheries, The Magnuson Stevens Act, needs to be substantially revised. Since its inception in 1976, the Magnuson Act has rarely ever given credence to the conservation, economic, or quality of life concerns of America's 19million saltwater anglers.

This past year, the message from Capitol Hill was that the majority of the work for the Magnuson reauthorization process and final passage of the bill was not going to take place until 2003.

Late on Thursday, May 16th, Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrist, Chairman of the House of Representatives Fisheries, Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans

Subcommittee introduced legislation that will probably serve as the primary vehicle for the reauthorization of Magnuson and has decided to set an extremely fast pace for the reauthorization process. Mr. Gilchrest intends to hold a 'mark-up' hearing on Thursday, May 23rd, and it is the understanding of all interested parties that Mr. Gilchrest intends to complete the process of moving his bill, H.R. 4749, through the committee process and to the full House of Representatives by the end of June, 2002.

Traditionally, when legislation of this importance is introduced, there is a substantial period of time before further action is taken so that all interested parties have the opportunity to review, analyze, and comment on the proposed legislation. Yet in this case, the legislation is being moved forward at a blistering pace with little in the way of substantial recreational input! The RFA has been in close contact with many commercial and environmental organizations, and they agree; the process of reauthorizing Magnuson needs to be deliberative and include the views of all interested parties. Not just a select few and then rush a bill through as quickly as possible. Once done, we will live with Magnuson for a LONG time!

We must convince Mr. Gilchrest that the process of reauthorizing Magnuson needs to be deliberative rather than expedited, and allow for input from anglers around the country. We are particularly concerned about the failure to address long-standing recreational angler concerns including council structures, adequate standards and safeguards for Individual Fishing Quotas, Marine Protected Areas, and the impact regulations have on the business we own, work for, or support.

Due to the short amount of time available to make your concerns known, please contact Chairman Gilchrest by 3pm, EDT, on Tuesday, May 21st. Fax is the most preferable method, but an email will be helpful. Phone calls will help, too.

Contact points for Mr. Gilchrest are:
Phone 202-225-5311
FAX 202-225-0254

Please watch for further action alerts as we go through the process of renewing this law. If you wish to be included on an e-alert system for fast-changing activities as we go through the Magnuson reauthorization process, send an email to <>

Now is the time for recreational anglers to be heard
as they have never been before. Please distribute the letter to as many anglers as you can by the deadline.

Monday, May 27, 2002
Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest
2254 Rayburn Office Building.
Washington DC, 20515

Dear Chairman Gilchrist:

As a member of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, I have an intense interest in the laws that govern our nation's saltwater fisheries. I am writing you regarding the importance of slowing the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. It is my current understanding that you intend to “fast track” reauthorization and are seeking the release of a completed version of the Act from the House Resources Committee by the end of June. Such an expedited process will not allow for thorough debate of issues that are critical to stakeholders and constituents.

Once this act is reauthorized and passed we will all have to live with it for a long time. It will greatly impact the marine ecosystem, the recreational community, and the many businesses that are dependent on America's 19 million saltwater anglers. Please take the necessary time to allow the various stakeholders and constituents around the country to evaluate and comment on the many aspects and impacts of this important legislation.

Thank you for your consideration.




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