Fishery management plan under fire

08/07/08 Mitch E. Perry
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A federal proposal to simplify fishery management has been hailed by some as a long-overdue reprieve from excessive paperwork. But fishermen and conservation groups say it goes too far in gutting requirements for public comment and environmental analysis.

Under orders from Congress, the National Marine Fisheries Service is revising the National Environmental Policy Act requirements that apply to fishery managers. The goal was to put those NEPA requirements into national fishery laws in the recently reauthorized Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as seamlessly as possible.

Tom Wheatley is with the Marine Fish Conservation Network. His group held a news conference in Tampa today, where they mailed a boxload of comments from environmentalists and fishermen in Florida and across the country, angry at the new rules.

The Marine Fish Conservation Network opposes the proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations and has collected over 150,000 comments asking the Fisheries Service to throw the proposal back.

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