Conservation & Science

Action Alert: Keep U.S. seafood sustainable—speak out against H.R. 200

The United States has some of the most sustainable fisheries in the world, thanks to our strong, science-based federal management. Most of the fish populations swimming off U.S. shores are at healthy levels, and many have recovered from decades of overfishing.

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A seafood market worker fillets halibut in Monterey. Photo by Steve Kepple

That’s something Americans can be proud of.

But a bill introduced in Congress could undo that progress, taking our country back to the old days of overfishing, unsustainable management and crashing fish stocks.

There’s still time to stop this harmful legislation—but we need your help! Please join us and tell Congress to vote NO on H.R. 200.

Your voice matters

H.R. 200 would weaken our successful federal fishery law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. On Wednesday, July 11, the bill is headed to a vote on the House floor.

This is where you come in! Please contact your House representative today, and ask them to vote NO on H.R. 200.

Click here to contact your representative, and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 200.

Here are some suggested talking points:

  • Americans want sustainable seafood. Listening to science is the best way to protect fish, fishermen and consumers from the risk of overfishing.
  • Please keep the Magnuson-Stevens Act strong by maintaining science-based management, annual catch limits and timelines for rebuilding fish populations.
  • Americans can be proud of our country’s sustainable fishery management, which is inspiring nations around the world to follow our lead. Let’s keep it that way.
  • Please vote NO on H.R. 200!

A story of American resilience

In the 1980s and 90s, overfishing contributed to the collapse of many of our nation’s most popular fisheries. On the East Coast, populations of iconic Atlantic cod, haddock and flounder plummeted. On the West Coast, ineffective management methods led to declining groundfish populations; the federal government had to step in and declare an economic disaster.

Sustainable West Coast sablefish served at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Today, the script has flipped. More than 40 of our country’s fish stocks have rebounded since 2000, and U.S. fisheries now provide some of the most sustainable wild-caught seafood in the world. These improvements are reflected in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch ratings: Almost all U.S. seafood products are now off the red Avoid list, and rated as Good Alternatives or even Best Choices.

According to the latest government reports, overfishing continues to decline in the U.S., and the number of recovered stocks is rising. That means consumers, retailers and chefs now have more access to sustainable seafood than ever before—which is delicious news for everyone, including businesses.

Decades of progress

Fresh-caught halibut at a fish market in Monterey.

The turnaround of American fisheries is largely thanks to bipartisan reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. These reforms, which Congress adopted in 1996 and 2006, recognized the importance of strong, science-based fishery management for healthy coastal economies.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act has become the gold standard for fishery management around the world. In 2015, domestic commercial and recreational fisheries generated almost $208 billion in sales and supported 1.6 million jobs. Fish populations continue to recover to sustainable levels, which is good for both fishermen and people who enjoy seafood.

But if H.R. 200 becomes law, it could undo decades of progress. It would add new loopholes to allow overfishing, undermine the role of science in fishery management, and weaken requirements to rebuild depleted fish populations.

Fishermen, seafood suppliers, seafood retailers, scientists and chefs all agree: The Magnuson-Stevens Act is working. With your help, we can keep it that way.

Learn more about how Monterey Bay Aquarium is working to improve the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture worldwide.

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