By: Cristel Zoebisch with Ed Yowell and Kevin Scribner (Slow Food USA)
Earlier this year, Slow Food San Francisco hosted the second annual Slow Fish conference with the goal of gathering fishermen, chefs, scientists, business leaders, educators, and seafood eaters to learn from each other, to connect, and to inspire creative solutions towards truly sustainable seafood.
The conference has already impacted Kendall Dix, a New Orleans-based line cook and contributing writer for the Marine Fish Conservation Network, who expressed his gratitude for the event's commitment to Good, Clean, and Fair policies as presenters emphasized replicability rather than scalability when it came to Slow fisheries. In the report, Dix urged attendees to pay more attention to the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization, stating “We as like-minded fisheries advocates will have to figure out how to make sure the conservation measures we advocate for are fairly treating our community fishers and that nobody is getting left out.” And Slow Food stands behind him.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (or MSA) is the primary federal law governing marine fisheries management in United States federal waters. It was enacted to promote the U.S. fishing industry's optimal exploitation of coastal fisheries by “consolidating control over territorial waters” and establishing eight regional councils to manage fish stocks. In the years since the act's implementation, MSA-driven and science-based fishery management practices have been seen by many as the most effective tools in preserving our nation’s valuable public fishery resources. As of December 31, 2017, these practices have allowed for the reconstruction of 44 fish stocks, bringing them to sustainable fishing levels. Currently, Congress is considering two bills: H.R. 200 (the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act of 2017) and S. 1520 (the Modernizing Recreational Fishing Management Act of 2017). If implemented, these two deceptively named bills would work to undermine MSA’s proven science-based approach towards conservation, weaken responsible management measures, and reverse the progress made in rebuilding our fish stocks.
As Dix said, “the small can be mighty when we have strength in numbers.” For more information on improving MSA, refer to these recommendations from the North Atlantic Marine Alliance, a key supporter of the Slow Fish USA community. Small actions can have big impacts. If you want to take action, click here to tell Congress that you oppose H.R. 200. And stay tuned to SFUSA for more news on how you can help support Slow Fishing.