Written by Jen Finn
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee bill that would provide for some $150 million to address economic fishery disasters and require NOAA to charter fishermen's boats for cooperative stock assessment research would also shut down NOAA's northeast regional headquarters in Gloucester's Blackburn Industrial Park and fold its jobs and operations into smaller community-based offices across the region.
The budget measure — backed last week by the full Senate Appropriations Committee and its Commerce, Justice, Science subcommittee — would steer $150 million into long-awaited disaster aid for Massachusetts fishermen as well as those in other New England states, Alaska and Mississippi.
That money, though it must hold up through approval by the full Senate and then reconciliation with a sister Appropriations measure from the House, would come nearly a year after the Department of Commerce recognized the Northeast groundfishery, with Gloucester's beleaguered fleet of small, independent and family-owned fishing boats, as an "economic disaster" in a declaration issued by then-Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank last September. And the bill would require NOAA to direct a portion of its revenue from seafood import duties toward the expanded fisheries research, as required by the 1954 Saltonstall-Kennedy Act.
According to the bill – geared toward the 2014 federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2014 — 10 percent of the revenues generated by the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act tariffs would have to be used for competitive grants toward community-based efforts that will help both fishing communities and industry industry itself modernize their fleets, shore services, and port facilities. The Saltonstall-Kennedy Act funds also could not be used for internal NOAA management; NOAA has instead used the tariff revenues to fund its operations for several years in spite of the 1954 provisions.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...