Written by Leslie Taylor
A year ago, the bill to provide $150 million in direct federal disaster assistance to fishermen rolled through the Senate, only to die a lingering death in the House — a casualty of the internecine and partisan bickering over the debt ceiling.
Yesterday, that failure by Congress to lift a deliberative finger to help fishermen was reduced to a political footnote when the Senate passed an appropriation to send $75 million to help fishermen, and fishing communities begin to right their ship after the economic peril visited upon them by the industry’s collapse.
The vote by the Senate, which followed Wednesday’s overwhelming victory in the House, means the federal government now will provide its first meaningful financial assistance to fishermen since the Department of Commerce declared an economic disaster in the Northeast groundfish fishery and elsewhere in 2012.
”This aid to our fishermen is long overdue,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said yesterday, immediately after casting her vote on the Senate floor. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Warren stressed that the appropriation is just the first step in helping rebuild the industry that has been ravaged by depleted fish stocks, shrinking fleets, climatic changes and NOAA’s crisis management strategy of closing traditional fishing grounds and slashing catch quotas.
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
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...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...