Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 15 February 2008
It was heartening to learn, especially on Valentine's Day, that there are folks out there who are showing fishermen a little love.
Massachusetts legislators are introducing a bill in Congress that would establish a national health care plan for fishermen. The program uses the Massachusetts Fishing Partnership Health Plan as a model for a national program.
The Massachusetts plan, adopted in the 1990s, gives low-cost health insurance to some 2,000 fishermen and family members who previously were without health care coverage or were underinsured.
The bill would authorize $50 million over five years for program planning, implementation and continuation grants in states with commercial fishing industries.
Even better, there's bi-partisan support for such a program. To wit: Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), John Tierney (D-Mass.), and William Delahunt (D-Mass.) are the bill's sponsors, and co-sponsors are Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), Don Young (R-Alaska.), Tom Allen (D-Maine), and Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.).
Wow. Democrats and Republicans find a worthy cause that they can all get behind. Fishermen will take all the love they can get.
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.
The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.Read more...