Look Who's Fighting the Fisheries Science Improvement Act

There is that old saw that suggests when opposing sides of an issue are both unhappy with a proposal, it must have merit.

That came to mind when I read the recent blog by Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation Association (CCC) called "Taking Flak."

It particularly concerns a piece legislation now in Congress known as the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA).

Who supports the bill? Just about every major organization concerned with recreational fishing and boating as well as conservation - including the CCC, International Game Fish Association, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsman's Foundation, National Marine Manufacturers Association and The Billfish Foundation.

That's a pretty impressive list.

Who opposes the bill? Major environmental groups and the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA).

I found it particularly fascinating that the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) is in complete agreement with Pew that the bill is bad (because it doesn't go far enough or goes too far, respectively).

To oppose the act because it doesn't go far enough will require a convincing the-whole-world's-wrong argument, given the FSIA's nearly unanimous support in the recreational-fishing community.

Interestingly, while the RFA is now offering scathing criticism of the bill and its supporters, just this past summer it issued a news release stating, "RFA has thoroughly reviewed the legislation and believes there is good, straightforward language included which can help alleviate access problems in many fisheries."

The extensive list of supporters maintains that the FSIA would allow fishery managers to make decisions based on available science, versus simply guessing for lack of data.

If you haven't clicked on the link above, it's recommended reading for anyone interested in (and unhappy with) how our fisheries are managed.