NOAA junk science in fisheries too?

“Fishermen from around the country are planning to pack the steps in front of the U.S. Capitol this month to demand changes to a federal fisheries law they say is killing jobs and eroding fishing communities.

Organizers of the “United We Fish” rally expect up to 3,000 people at the Feb. 24 protest, including a bipartisan roster of congressmen and fishermen from as far away as Alaska.  …

Jim Hutchinson Jr. of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, a rally organizer, said the overall goal is changing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the federal fisheries law that was reauthorized in 2007.

Hutchinson said the law sets unrealistic fish stock recovery goals based on flawed science, then mandates harsh cuts for failing to meet the goals.  …

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Monica Allen said the agency “will be listening carefully to what fishermen and others have to say that day.”  …

Hutchinson said his New Jersey-based group started organizing the rally after a closure of the amberjack fishery last year followed other closures it viewed as based on bad science, such as on a healthy black sea bass stock.  …

A primary push at the rally will be for flexibility in provisions of the fishery law that tighten rules if depleted stocks aren’t being rebuilt along a 10-year timeline. Fishermen say the 10-year timeline is unscientific and arbitrary and ignores nature’s role in recovery.  …

Amanda Leland of the Environmental Defense Fund said she understands fishermen’s frustrations, adding that recent management has cost fishing jobs.”  “Fishermen say federal law kills jobs


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