A figurative sea of fishermen reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Washington DC marked the start of a protest over Congressional inaction on the law that governs catch limits.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance's "Keep Fishermen Fishing" rally is aimed at easing restrictions in the Magnuson-Stevens Act that they say are hurting commerical enterprise, tourism, boaters and affiliated businesses that are directly or tangentially tied to fishing as a sport or a business. It's the second protest of its kind in as many years.

Representative Jon Runyan (R-3), whose district covers the Ocean County beachfront from Brick to Stafford, spoke to the crowd about his efforts to revise the law. He was joined by fellow Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-2), whose district includes southern Ocean County and Long Beach Island and continues into Atlantic County. U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Kyrillos, currently Monmouth County's state Senator, also attended.

Runyan, who serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, sponsors two bills concerned with fishing industry job preservation.

The American Angler Preservation Act (HR 1664) aims at accountability in fishing management. The Saving Fishing Jobs Act of 2011 (HR 2772) would re-evaluate catch limits set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and would require the Secretary of Commerce to end catch programs that result in job shrinkage. It would also give fishing group members voting rights on catch limit initiatives.

“Coastal communities in Ocean County and across the nation depend on this industry," said Runyan in a prepared statement. " The bottom line is that we need common sense reforms to our nation’s fishing laws so that we can remove the job-killing regulations that are imposed on fishermen.”

LoBiondo's message to the RFA is below: