Written by Leslie Taylor
The overdue and expected arrival of some $75 million in federal aid for the Northeast groundfishery and others recognized as “economic disasters” should provide welcome relief for fishermen and related businesses that have been pushed to a collective brink of bankruptcy.
But for all the well-deserved kudos extended to federal lawmakers who stood by this needed aid package — which gained U.S. Senate approval Thursday night — it’s important that all involved recognize the fact that this is a very short-term fix.
For, without regulatory reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the process by which NOAA can set yearly, stock-by-stock catch limits, many of the fishermen who are due this disaster aid now will be forced right back to the table seeking more federal assistance next year and/or the years that follow.
The ironic aspect of this disaster aid approval is that, at the start, fishermen and related waterfront businesses never wanted or reached out for government handouts in the first place.
Their hands were simply forced by lopsided, heavy-handed fishing limits and enforcement tactics that were cited as excessive by the Department of Commerce’s own Inspector General’s office beginning in 2009, yet still haven’t been adequately addressed by either NOAA or its parental Commerce leadership.
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...