Aquatic wildlife senselessly killed!

Government mismanagement, which allows overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and wasteful killing of non-target ocean life resulting in Bycatch (Bycatch is the indiscriminate catching and killing of fish species and marine wildlife other than those a fishing vessel is intending to capture. Shrimp, swordfish, and tuna fisheries have particularly high amounts of bycatch), is putting America's ocean fish at risk of extinction. Combined with new, sophisticated fishing technologies humans can now catch far more fish every year than what our oceans can produce.

The problems with mismanagement must be solved now if we want our ocean fish to be around for future generations. Instead of managing our ocean resources primarily for extraction we need to put conservation first. The collapse of many of our ocean fish populations has had a devastating impact on our marine ecosystems, our fishermen and fishing communities, and all those that depend on fish as a food source.

We can stop overexploiting our ocean wildlife by passing federal laws, such as the Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001 that makes conservation a top priority. Congress will hold a legislative hearing on this legislation to address these problems on April 25, 2002.

Please urge your representative to cosponsor the Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001, H.R. 2570, before April 25th so that it will get a fair hearing.

Dear Congressman,

I am writing to urge you to cosponsor the Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001, H.R. 2570. America's ocean fish are in crisis because of government mismanagement, overfishing and wasteful fishing practices. It alarms me that we now have the capacity to catch more fish than the oceans can produce. This, coupled with the use of damaging fishing gear, has put over 30 federally managed fish species at risk of extinction. This may only be the tip of the iceberg because federal fisheries managers don't even know the status of seventy-eight percent of America's ocean fish populations.

Instead of managing our ocean wildlife primarily for extraction, we must make conservation a top priority. The Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001 closes many loopholes in current law. It requires an end to overfishing; reduces the killing of non-targeted fish and other ocean life such as turtles, sea birds and sharks; and protects essential fish habitat. Fishery managers will also be required to consider the overall health of ocean ecosystems while making management decisions.

The future of America's ocean resources, fishermen, and fishing communities depends on your leadership. Please cosponsor the Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001, H.R. 2570. If you are already a cosponsor, please contact Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and ask him to act on this important legislation.

The Undersigned.
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