1. Opinion

Column: Don't hurt fisheries with dangerous legislation

William Hogarth, left, and Steven Murawski were the director and chief scientist, respectively, of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service in 2007 when the Magnuson Stevens Act was passed. Both are currently at the University of South Florida. The status of the nation\u2019s fishery stocks can be viewed at
Published Jul. 9, 2018

This Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act. We believe this is an ill-conceived, dangerous piece of legislation that would undermine the tremendous progress in fisheries rebuilding and sustainable management that has occurred since the latest reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act in 2007.

Since 2007, more than 40 of the most overfished and historically important fish stocks in the nation have been recovered. Overfishing now occurs for fewer than 10 percent of stocks, the lowest proportion since records have been kept. Rebuilding stocks has resulted in increases in fisheries yields and translated into lower prices to consumers, more business-friendly approaches to commercial fisheries management and more healthy recreational fisheries.

The term "flexibility" in H.R. 200 is a code word that would undermine timely, effective management of stocks when downturns inevitably occur. Heavy on requirements for studies and other administrative requirements, H.R. 200 would make fisheries management more cumbersome. The bill as written would delay timely, effective conservation responses and would limit the flexibility to use innovative management tools. Healthy fisheries without healthy stocks is a non sequitur. We urge the House to reject this piece of legislation that seeks to solve problems that simply do not exist.


  1. The American flag flies in front of the U.S. Capitol dome at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington.
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  2. Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  3. Editorial cartoon for Saturday/Sunday Andy Marlette/Creators Syndicate
  4. Stock photo. MORGAN DAVID DE LOSSY  |  Getty Images/iStockphoto
    I’m a new mom -- again -- and please remember that many mothers would welcome government policies that make it easier for them to stay home with their kids than returning to work. | Column
  5. Josh Hensley, 43, was found in the waters of Kings Bay in Crystal River. He was known for dressing as Jack Sparrow. Facebook
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  6. David Colburn was the former provost and senior vice president of the University of Florida. JAMIE FRANCIS  |  Tampa Bay Times
    He believed that diversity is our strength, and that the way to overcome division is to shine light in dark corners, writes Cynthia Barnett.
  7. Adam Goodman, national Republican media consultant
    With Washington once again failing to embrace reforms following mass shootings, it’s up to Americans to create a movement to demand change. | Adam Goodman
  8. Couple, Lewis Bryan, 36, (back left) and Amber Eckloff, 33, pose for a portrait with their children, (From left) D'Angelo Eckloff, 14, Rasmus Bryan, 4, Ramiro Bryan, 10, Lothario Bryan, 6, and Alonzo Bailey, 17. The family has been living at the Bayway Inn on 34th St S. Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in St. Petersburg.  MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    When about 40 percent of city households are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, something has to change.
  9. A judge ruled in June that it is up to Hillsborough County Commissioners to decide how much money the bus agency and other transportation projects get from the one-cent transportation sales tax voters approved in November. The board did just that this week.[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    Hillsborough commissioners follow through on transportation funding.
  10. From left to right: Florida Department of Transportation workers inspect damage to the Interstate 175 overpass at Sixth Street S caused by a roll-off dumpster truck that left its hydraulic arm upright, according to St. Petersburg police [JAMES BORCHUCK | Tampa Bay Times]; Former Pinellas school guardian Erick Russell, 37, is accused of pawning the Glock 17 9mm semiautomatic pistol, body armor and two magazines he was issued to protect students [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]; Johnna Lynn Flores [AUSTIN ANTHONY | Tampa Bay Times] Tampa Bay Times
    Here are three examples of routine information Tampa Bay governments kept from the public this week.