Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 05 February 2010
The Feb. 24 fishermen's march on Washington, D.C., may not have the impact or garner the attention that the 1963 civil rights march on Washington did. But it's important nonetheless.
Thousands of commercial and recreational fishermen will head to Washington to gather on the steps of the Capitol at noon to protest federal fisheries management actions that they say are crippling the nation's coastal fishing communities. The New Jersey-based Recreational Fishing Alliance is organizing the rally through United We Fish.
Is it a stretch to say that commercial fishermen in this country feel marginalized? That they think NMFS doesn't value their input regarding fisheries management issues? That they believe their industry, which is older than the country itself, is being choked by regulation? Or that they believe the Magnuson-Stevens Act has evolved into a weapon that is used against them?
In an East Hampton (N.Y.) Star Feb. 4 article about the fishermen's march, Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, may have best summed up their feelings. She said she was disturbed about NMFS' recent decision not to renew its contract with the Cornell Cooperative Extension to collect biological samples and landing statistics.
"It seems to crystallize a disconnect that is endemic to NMFS itself, a lack of respect for the fishing communities, and no input or voice by fishermen into a regulatory process that we are governed by daily," Brady said.
The Feb. 24 march would seem an excellent opportunity for fishermen past and present from all over the country to go to Washington and make their discontent known to NMFS, our elected leaders, and the American public, and campaign for meaningful change.
NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...