I am writing to urge you to support H.R. 1431, the Fisheries Science and Management Enhancement Act. This legislation will significantly improve the management of our nation's ocean fish populations and ensure that our ocean ecosystems and fishing communities are healthy and sustainable.
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, appointed by President Bush, concluded that, 'Our failure to properly manage the human activities that affect the nation's oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes is compromising their ecological integrity, diminishing our ability to fully realize their potential, costing us jobs and revenue, threatening human health, and putting our future at risk.' The Commission went on to say that, 'The message from both experts and the public alike was clear: our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes are in trouble and major changes are urgently needed in the way we manage them.'
The Fisheries Science and Management Enhancement Act implements several key fishery management recommendations of the Commission and, if enacted, will help ensure healthy ocean fish populations and vibrant coastal economies by:
*Strengthening the use of science in fisheries management to ensure that the best possible science forms the basis for management decisions;
*Broadening the representation on fishery management councils to include members of the public;
*Significantly reducing financial conflicts of interest in the fishery management process to ensure that short-term economic considerations do not compromise marine ecosystems;
*Providing training for all new council members to give them the tools necessary to make informed management decisions; and
*Establishing a national cooperative research program to increase our knowledge of the health of our fish populations, and to better understand and minimize the impact of fishing on ocean wildlife.
These reforms are vital to ensure the long-term health of our nation's ocean ecosystems and fishing communities. I urge you to support their enactment by cosponsoring H.R. 1431, the Fisheries Science and Management Enhancement Act of 2005. To cosponsor the bill, or for more information, please have your staff contact Lori Sonken, House Resources Committee staff at (202) 226-2311.
In a related matter, I ask that the US Congress formally ask Canada to stop its proposed 2006 seal hunt. Seals are already in danger from climate change, and the massive slaughter that is coming threatens their viability as a species.
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