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Ayotte Proposes To Ease Strict Fishing Limitations

During a Senate Commerce Subcommittee meeting on Tuesday Senator Kelly Ayotte recommended changes to the Mid-Atlantic Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Act.

The conservation act dates back to 1976 and is meant to maintain stock and habitat at sustainable levels.

In recent years that’s meant strict catch limits for Atlantic Cod and Haddock.

And many senators agree that catch limits issued under the Act have worked.

Ayotte and other members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation argue that strict limits on certain species are putting coastal fishermen out of business. At Tuesday’s hearing Ayotte said fishermen have been forced to reduce Atlantic Cod catches by more than 70 percent this year.

“I don’t know a business that can go with a 78 percent reduction and survive. This is a matter of survival.”

Ayotte wants the Magnuson-Stevens Act to be retooled.  She cites a lack of scientific research that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collect prior to setting catch limits.

Although other senators expressed sympathy for coastal livelihoods, but said over-fishing, warming waters and ocean acidification have created a sustainability issue that is difficult to balance.