Rep Allen West – The Keep Fishermen Fishing rally in Washington, D.C. this past week was an amazing success

by Congressman Allen West on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:40am

The Keep Fishermen Fishing rally in Washington, D.C. this past week was an amazing success. An estimated 3,000 people showed up from around the country to rally for a cause that is pushing to keep America’s fisheries open. Family businesses are being forced to close and people are losing their jobs by over regulation by federal agencies.

The fishermen hoped to ignite elected officials to pass an amendment to the controversial Magnuson-Steven Act.  The 36-year-old legislation sets regulations dealing with overfished stock.  Now is the time to roll back on these regulations. H.R. 3061 will allow South Florida Fishermen to get back on the water.

I co-sponsored this legislation because of the great impact it will have.  First of all, it extends the timeframe for rebuilding of fish stock beyond 10 years in certain circumstances.  When fish stocks are considered to be in endangered, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will step in, and announce a new ten year rebuilding period. While it is important to sustain our fish stock, it is just as important to have the bureaucratic nanny-state off of our backs.  When fishing is halted on a certain type of fish, businesses that rely upon that fish are then put in jeopardy.

Second of all, I want to make clear, this is not just something that affects commercial fishermen of South Florida.  Recreational boaters, as well as tour companies are affected by this regularly.  As a certified master scuba diver, I know, and understand the true beauty of a sustainable fishery.  I too know, the true harm and true economic consequences that over-regulations can have on different types of fishing related industries.  I want to make sure that South Florida continues its rich tradition in the worlds “first true industry.”

I joined this fight because of hard working Americans like our Florida fisherman, it is important to fight on their behalf.  In Florida alone, more than 200,000 people are employed in the fishing industry with an economic impact of $16.8 billion a year.

I stand with fishermen across the country right now, in a time where we need to make sure people stay at work.  I know sometimes reform might not seem possible in a place where partisan bickering sometimes takes center stage, however, I am optimistic that we will come together to make sure that America’s fishing industry not only remains competitive, but remains the very best.




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