It’s time to pass the Modern Fish Act

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. To view it on the original page, click here.

By Wes Seigler

May 1, 2018

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As one of the countless anglers who call Virginia home, I wanted to offer my thanks to Rep. Rob Wittman for standing up for our great sport. As co-author of Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act (Modern Fish Act), Wittman has stood by an industry that contributes nearly $540 million annually to the Virginia economy and supports more than 5,000 jobs across our commonwealth.

Currently, recreational anglers are inappropriately lumped in with industrial fishing companies who catch and sell fish by the thousands. Common sense would say these two groups have significantly different outlooks, goals, and impacts on the nation’s fisheries; yet, for more than 40 years, they have been regulated as a singular, monolithic group.

I have seen firsthand the effect these restrictive regulations have had on an industry that drives an important part of the U.S. economy. Instituting commonsense provisions like those found within the Modern Fish Act would go a long way toward witnessing the full-potential of an industry begging to be unleashed.

Those who oppose the bill argue that existing federal law has helped to reduce overfishing, and any attempts to change it could be a step backward. This argument not only casts aside the failures of current law, but also ignores anglers’ strong commitment to conservation.

The bill’s opponents fail to recognize the management and data collection improvements contained in the Modern Fish Act. This legislation will continue the nation’s efforts to end overfishing, while also ending the inconsistent regulations that have afflicted the fishing community for decades.

It’s time to stop relying on outdated regulations. With the Modern Fish Act recently passing through committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives, it’s more important than ever to ask our legislators for support. The livelihood of both local and national fisheries depends on it.

Wes Seigler,
President and Founder,
SEiGLER Fishing Reels