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September 21, 2007

Bills to Protect Resources on Tap

Bill Would Keep Longlines from West Coast EEZ

A California Congressman introduced a bill to Congress to keep the waters off California free of longlines. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) presented the Pacific Highly Migratory Species Conservation Act of 2002 (HR 4618) to the U.S. House of Representatives to prohibit the use of pelagic drift longlines within the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone and promote the use of more sustainable fishing gear, such as harpoons and rod-and-reel. Hunter's bill could head off a proposal by California drift gillnetters to develop a pelagic drift longline fishery to replace their gillnets.

Proposed Bill Would Limit Commercial "Rock Hoppers"

A proposed bill would regulate the size of rollers, or "rock hoppers," used in commercial trawling gear, effectively protecting species that thrive in areas with rocky, uneven bottom, as well as the structure of the seafloor itself. Congressman Joel Hefley (R-CO) filed the Ocean Habitat Protection Act (HR 4003) for inclusion in the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Sustainable Fisheries Act. "Rock hopper" is a term for a type of trawl net that was developed to fish areas of uneven, hard bottom and vertical structure where conventional trawl nets would become entangled. According to the Recreational Fishing Alliance, these nets have also been shown to damage the bottom where they are fished. The Ocean Habitat Protection Act would regulate the size of these rollers and protect fish habitat.

Let Congress Know How You Feel!

Contact your congressional delegation about the Ocean Habitat Protection Act (HR 4003) and the Pacific Highly Migratory Species Conservation Act of 2002 (HR 4618). Visit http://www.freedomtofish.org and enter your Zip Code.