Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 30 May 2008
I have spent the better part of this week sniffling, sneezing and coughing. I would say I've gone through a box and a half of Kleenex and have downed my fair share of Robitussin cough syrup.
Nonetheless, I consider myself a lucky guy. The common cold aside, I'm pretty healthy; I don't think I've had even a handful of sick days since I came to NF in late 1994.
And if I do find myself in need of medical attention, I'll be able to take advantage of our company's health care plan. You almost start to feel better just knowing that you're not going to have to worry about how to pay that bill that could easily drain your finances.
Fishermen aren't so lucky. Health care for fishermen and their families is expensive — and often too costly to buy.
The good news is that two bills championing a nationwide health care plan for fishermen (H.R. 5404 and S. 2630) continue to gain traction and bi-partisan support in Congress. So far, the Commercial Fishing Industry Health Care Coverage Act of 2008 has 26 co-sponsors, according to the Massachusetts-based Fishing Partnership Health Program.
The legislation is also getting support at the state level. Yesterday it was announced that California State Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) has introduced legislation calling on Congress and the President to pass the bills. Wiggins chairs the state Joint Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture.
That the program has gained such political support is attributed to the work of the fishing community organizations that have endorsed the legislation. Thus far 15 such groups spanning the nation's coasts have demonstrated their support, as have two nationwide organizations.
All the stars seem to be aligned to get the bills passed this legislative session — provided that fishermen and fishing groups continue to press their Congressional delegates to co-sponsor the bills. To learn more about the health care program and what you can do to help get the legislation passed, visit the Fishing Partnership Health Plan Web site (www.fphp.org).
Just think: If fishermen make enough phone calls, send enough e-mails and get their legislators to commit to sponsoring the legislation, there could actually be an affordable health care plan for fishermen and their families approved by year's end. Hey, I'm feeling better already.
The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.Read more ...
The Marine Stewardship Council has appointed Eric Critchlow as the new U.S. Program Director. Critchlow will be based in the MSC US headquarters in Seattle. He is a former vice president of Lusamerica Foods and has over 35 years in the seafood industry.Read more ...