In Senate hearing on MSA, Chris Oliver Addresses West Coast Groundfish

Chris Oliver, new Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, testified on August 1st before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Here is a brief excerpt, followed by a link where you can view the committee hearing in full.

“Essentially, the (Magnuson-Stevens Act) has been an outstanding success. In partnership with the Councils, Commissions and other stakeholders, we have effectively ended overfishing in this country…ensuring a sustainable supply of seafood for the nation in the future…. I can personally attest to the value of (the regional Council) system, which encourages a collaborative, bottom-up process where input and decisions include fishermen, other fisheries stakeholders, states, tribes and the federal government. Working together, fishermen, managers and scientists have brought back numerous resources in fisheries across our country. I’m especially proud of our accomplishments in Alaska, where our approaches have led them to be widely recognized as the most successfully managed in the world.

“Yet we have challenges remaining. As an example, while our West Coast groundfish species have rebuilt several important stocks, in recent years fishermen are leaving significant portions of available harvest in the water due to outdated regulations and also to bycatch restrictions. We have to find ways to maximize the allowable harvest in all of our fisheries, but importantly, do so within our overall, long term conservation goals. I think this is the case for some of our commercial fisheries and generally for recreational fisheries as well.”

The above testimony occurs at about the 43-minute mark in the online video, which you can find here.