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Scientists at the Harte Research Institute help pass ‘Modern Fish Act’

Posted at 6:50 AM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-14 15:22:43-05

With decades of a growing recreational fishing industry, past federal laws have not properly addressed the management of recreational saltwater fisheries.

As of Dec. 31, a new law was passed that will provide better management to the recreational fishing industry that is different than commercial fishing.

The Modern Fish Act has been a bill worked on by policymakers and anglers across the nation for the past four years. In addition to conservation organizations, two scientists from the Harte Research Institute have helped bring this law into action.

Harte Research Institute’s executive director Larry McKinney and Greg Stunz, HRI’s director of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, helped provide scientific data and show how important recreational fishing is to our economy.

“Recreational fisheries are multi-billion dollar industries,” Stunz said. “Upwards of the $40 billion, they create hundreds of thousands of jobs. And so they’re very very important and this act recognizes the value of recreational fisheries to the nation.”

The Modern Fish Act provides additional management tools for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies.

“Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting,” Stunz said, particularly the smartphone apps like HRI’s iSnapper App.

McKinney and Stunz say that anglers can expect better fishing for species like red snapper because of longer seasons, and better access to those resources.

For more information, you can find it here.