Langevin Statement on Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization
Congressman Langevin submitted the following statement for the record following his vote against HR 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.
Congressman Jim Langevin
Statement for the Record
Mr. Speaker, I rise today deeply disappointed that the Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization before us does not follow in its long-held tradition of thoughtful bipartisanship.
The bill before us would roll back protections our citizens enjoy under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and the Antiquities Act. This bill would remove requirements that prevent overfishing, thereby preventing us from enjoying the benefits of healthy fisheries. We cannot simply wish for more fish in the ocean, we must create the conditions that make it possible.
Magnuson should promote innovation and responsible flexibility, while ensuring we have the resources to obtain the best data possible to make informed decisions about one of our most precious economic and food resources — our fisheries.
This is the kind of flexibility my bill, the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Fairness Act, would provide. My bill would create two new spots for Rhode Island on the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council.
Rhode Island lands more Mid-Atlantic-regulated species than any other state in the Mid-Atlantic region besides New Jersey. Our circumstance parallels that of Florida and North Carolina, which each have voting membership on two different fishery management councils.
The decisions of the Mid-Atlantic Council directly affect the success of Rhode Island’s fishing industry and the ability of our fishermen to maintain their businesses, and they deserve a say in how those resources are managed.
We all believe that Magnuson can be improved. The last Magnuson reauthorization was a bipartisan and widely supported bill. I am sorry to say that this bill does not follow the same path, and it is not a bill I can support.
I look forward to working with Mr. Grijalva and my Republican colleagues on a bipartisan product which includes provisions our fishermen need and support, like H.R. 2541, the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Fairness Act.