The North Pacific seafood industry is a major economic force in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. With the passage of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Management Act (U.S. 200-mile limit) and State of Alaska fisheries management practices, the industry has grown and thrived, becoming one of the most productive, lucrative, and stable fisheries in the world. Periodically, the Congress reauthorizes MSFCMA and uses the opportunity to re-examine and modify federal fishery policies. The committees of jurisdiction are the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee and its Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard (currently chaired by Senator Mark Begich of Alaska), and the House Natural Resources Committee and its Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs (chaired currently by Representative John Fleming of Louisiana, with Alaska Representative Don Young as a senior member).
Given the high degree of federal influence in North Pacific fisheries (through policies, regulations and program funding), the industry is a regular participant in congressional events. Both appropriations and legislation are major factors in fishery management, including determining if fisheries are permitted to open at all. Over the decades, JFA has represented clients from all sectors of the industry at the forefront of congressional deliberations that have established fisheries policies for the North Pacific and the entire nation. With a new MSFCMA reauthorization pending, congressional involvement in major fisheries decisions is an ongoing practice.
*image courtesy of Echo Forsberg